Peru de­mol­ishes mau­soleum hold­ing dead Shin­ing Path rebels

Miami Herald (Sunday) - - Americas | World - BY FRANKLIN BRICENO

LIMA, PERU

Peru­vian au­thor­i­ties on Satur­day de­mol­ished a mau­soleum hold­ing eight Shin­ing Path rebels killed dur­ing prison mas­sacres more than three decades ago and re­lo­cated their re­mains to a ceme­tery in a north­ern part of Lima.

More than 50 po­lice of­fi­cers and dozens of work­ers from the ceme­tery in the Co­mas dis­trict of Peru’s cap­i­tal par­tic­i­pated in the op­er­a­tion, said pros­e­cu­tor Javier Za­p­ata. The re­mains of the Maoist rebels will be buried in sep­a­rate niches.

The rebels died in June 1986 riots in three pris­ons in Lima dur­ing which se­cu­rity forces killed 250 sus­pected Shin­ing Path in­mates. Pris­on­ers killed three sol­diers and one po­lice of­fi­cer.

In 2013, pros­e­cu­tors ac­cused 35 mem­bers of Peru’s navy of homi­cide and car­ry­ing out ex­tra­ju­di­cial ex­e­cu­tions dur­ing the riots, and re­quested 25- to 28-year sen­tences. The case is still on­go­ing. The in­mates’ bod­ies were burned and buried clan­des­tinely af­ter the mas­sacres, but were exmed by a foren­sic team start­ing in 2012.

The re­mains of the eight rebels were the first to be re­turned to their fam­i­lies. The other re­mains have not yet been re­turned.

The mau­soleum was built in 2016 by rel­a­tives of the dead rebels and was de­signed to hold up to 51 niches. Con­ser­va­tive par­ties in Peru and mem­bers of the mil­i­tary ob­jected to it as an apol­ogy for ter­ror­ism and called for it to be taken down. Au­thor­i­ties say its con­struc­tion was be­gun with­out the nec­es­sary per­mits.

A hand­ful of rel­a­tives of the dead rebels protested at the ceme­tery’s gates but only man­aged to en­ter af­ter the mau­soleum had been torn down.

“I felt im­po­tence, in­dig­na­tion and anger; the state doesn’t even let the dead rest in peace,” said Elviro Aponte, 80, fa­ther of one of the rebels.

Ex­perts say there are some 6,462 clan­des­tine ceme­ter­ies through­out Peru, a legacy of the An­dean na­tion’s bru­tal in­ter­nal con­flict. A truth com­mis­sion found that be­tween 1980 and 2000, fight­ing among rebel groups, the gov­ern­ment and self-de­fense pa­trols left up to 70,000 dead.

MARTIN ME­JIA AP

Peru­vian au­thor­i­ties de­mol­ish a Shin­ing Path mau­soleum in a ceme­tery on the out­skirts of Lima on Satur­day.

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