Dancer who hid Peru rebel chief freed from prison af­ter 25 yrs

Stabroek News - - REGIONAL NEWS -

LIMA, (Reuters) - A bal­let dancer in Peru who was caught hid­ing the leader of the Shin­ing Path in her apart­ment in 1992 was freed from prison af­ter fin­ish­ing her 25-year sen­tence on Mon­day.

Mar­itza Gar­rido Lecca, 52, emerged from a prison on the dusty out­skirts of Lima smil­ing. As she stepped in a car, jour­nal­ists shouted: “Do you re­gret it?”

Gar­rido Lecca is the lat­est in a wave of for­mer mil­i­tants to be freed, and their re­lease has stirred fears of un­rest.

Raised in an af­flu­ent Catholic home in Peru’s cap­i­tal Lima, Gar­rido Lecca stunned Peru when author­i­ties dis­cov­ered the coun­try’s most wanted man, Abi­mael Guzman, had been se­cretly liv­ing in the sec­ond story of her apart­ment above the stu­dio where she taught bal­let and mod­ern dance.

Her story in­spired the 2002 John Malkovich-di­rected film “The Dancer Up­stairs” that de­picted the kind of pa­tient de­tec­tive­work that led to Guzman’s cap­ture.

Guzman launched the Shin­ing Path’s at­tempt to over­throw the state in 1980 in what would be­come one of Latin Amer­ica’s dead­li­est in­ter­nal con­flicts.

An es­ti­mated 69,000 peo­ple were killed in the twodecade bat­tle be­tween state se­cu­rity forces and left­ist in­sur­gents. The ma­jor­ity of vic­tims were the poor in­dige­nous peas­ants whom Guzman hoped would em­brace his plans for an armed re­bel­lion.

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