LIMA – The founder of Peru’s Shining Path rebel group, who is already serving a life sentence for terrorism, refused on Tuesday to answer questions from prosecutors about a deadly 1992 car bombing.
Abimael Guzman said he knew nothing about the July 16, 1992, blast on Lima’s Tarata St. that left 25 people dead.
“I don’t have anything to say because I have nothing to do with Tarata. When are you going to understand that?” he said.
“We are not paid adventurers, we are communist fighters,” Guzman said inside a special courtroom on Callao naval base near Lima, where he is imprisoned.
Prosecutors are seeking a second life sentence for Guzman, wife Elena Iparraguirre, and 11 other former Shining Path leaders as alleged co-conspirators in the Tarata attack.
One co-defendant likewise refused to answer questions about Tarata, while two others said they were prepared to cooperate.
At the end of the hearing, Guzman’s attorney, Alfredo Crespo, showed journalists a letter in which his client and several other co-defendants said that “as leaders, we have never ordered a specific action, so we could not have ordered the so-called Tarata action.”
“Moreover, as can be seen in documents, we are the ones who have criticized the regrettable action most harshly,” the missive said.
Guzman, 82, and his Shining Path colleagues also denied prosecutors’ claims that the Maoist-inspired guerrilla army allied itself with drug traffickers.
The Shining Path high command, including Guzman, were captured at a residence in Lima two months after the Tarata car bombing.
In a 2003 report, Peru’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission blamed Shining Path for the largest share of the 69,000 deaths during two decades of conflict between security forces and insurgents.