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Jailed Peru Rebel Chief On Hunger Strike


Abimael Guzman, the jailed leader of Peru's Shining Path rebel group, and his imprisoned lover have begun a hunger strike to protest solitary confinement that keeps them apart.

Guzman and Elena Iparraguirre say they will not eat until prison authorities lift the order that confined them to their cells on Friday. They had been allowed visitors, letters, radios and access to a common courtyard at the prison at Calloa built especially for terrorists.

The two prisoners claim guards stole Iparraguirre's diary, which reports say indicated Guzman continues to lead the Shining Path from his cell.

Iparraguirre had been the rebel group's second in command. They were captured together in 1992.

Guzman has gone on hunger strikes before, calling for new trials and prison transfers for jail rebels.

The Maoist-inspired Shining Path had up to 10,000 fighters at its peak in the 1980s and early 1990s, when it tried to overthrow Peru's government with a campaign of bombings, assassinations and peasant massacres.

More than 30,000 people died in the violence, which dropped off considerably after Guzman's capture.