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Committee Formed to Defend Abimael Guzman

Abimael Guzman (also known as Chairman Gonzalo), the leader of the Communist Party of Peru, was captured by Peruvian government troops on September 14, 1992, in Lima, Peru. Mr. Guzman had been sought by government troops since 1980, when the PCP initiated the military aspect of the current people's war to liberate Peru. The Peruvian government has a long history of torturing and killing PCP members (real or accused) it captures [see PLN , Vol. 3, Nos. 4 and 9]. The Peruvian government is ranked as the leader in human rights violations involving the murder and disappearances of anti-government activists, aaaccording to human rights groups.

It is under these circumstances that the International Committee to Defend the Life of Abimael Guzman has been formed. Mr. Guzman is to be tried by a military tribunal where he faces life without parole when he is convicted of "treason". In April of this year the Peruvian government suspended its constitution and abolished its judiciary. Guzman will not receive anything close to a fair or impartial trial. The government had earlier filed murder and subversion charges against Guzman but the Supreme Court of Peru dismissed the charges for lack of evidence. This led to the Supreme Court being abolished, accused of being soft in the "war on subversion."

The Committee is urgently seeking to raise funds to help pay the expenses of sending a delegation of lawyers, human rights activists, professors and religious figures to Peru to meet with government officials to ensure Guzman's physical safety and well being are assured.

Guzman is in poor health and suffers from serious medical problems. To date he has not been allowed to meet with his physicians. Despite his upcoming show trial he has not been allowed to meet with his lawyer. These will be issues raised with the government.

The Committee is circulating a petition requesting that Guzman not be tried before a military tribunal and that he be allowed access to his lawyers and doctors. Guzman has also demanded that he be treated in accordance with international law concerning the treatment of Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War.

Anyone desiring more information, wanting to donate money, have their name added to the petition, etc., can contact: Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru, P.O. Box 1246, Berkeley, CA 94701, (510) 644-4170. The IEC's address is: International Emergency Committee, c/o BCM World To Win, 27 Old Gloucester St. London, WC1N 3XX, England. Phone/fax: (44) (41) 482-0853.

[Editor's note : Guzman was convicted on October 7th 1992 by a military tribunal in Peru and sentenced to life in prison without parole and fined $25 billion.]

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