Crime & Justice

Peruvian justice minister calls for Shining Path leader’s cremation

Lima, Sep 13 (EFE).- Peru’s Justice and Human Rights Minister requested Monday that the Attorney General’s Office order the cremation of the leader and founder of the Shining Path guerrilla group, Abimael Guzmán.

After 29 years in jail, Guzmán died on Saturday of health complications in a military hospital aged 86.

Justice Minister Aníbal Torres sent a letter to Attorney General Zoraida Ávalos, asking her to take the “necessary actions” for the Public Ministry to order the cremation of Guzmán’s body.

The minister said that from a reading of the laws, unclaimed corpses remain in the custody of the Public Ministry, which has the power to donate them for research purposes or request the cremation from a cemetery.

Guzmán’s wife Elena Iparraguirre is considered his Shining Path second-in-command and is also serving a life sentence for terrorism. Guzmán has no other living direct relatives.

Torres also warned that ordering the burial of the Shining Path founder “could lead to damage to public order and the security” of Peruvian society, fearing supporters will “seek to exalt and honor him.”

The Ministry of Justice warned that any tribute in favor of terrorist leaders such as Guzmán will be considered as the crime of apology to terrorism, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

The government had already indicated that the fate of Guzmán’s body should be decided by the Prosecutor’s Office.

In this sense, the Peruvian presidency indicated that the government of President Pedro Castillo respects “the law and the independence of powers” and that it is up to the government to decide on the final disposal of the body of terrorist Abimael Guzmán, since it falls within the competence of the Public Ministry.”

The Prosecutor’s Office specified that laws establish that the remains must be handed over to duly accredited direct relatives.

On Sunday, a citizen identified as Iris Quiñonez, known as Comrade Bertha, asked the Third Provincial Corporate Criminal Prosecutor’s Office of Callao to hand over Guzmán’s body, saying she had power of attorney granted by Iparraguirre. The request was reportedly rejected by a Callao court.

The remains of Guzmán, responsible as the leader of the Shining Path for tens of thousands of deaths between 1980 and 2000 in Peru, remain in the Callao morgue. EFE


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