Latin America & Caribbean

Peru's Shining Path rebel leaders marry

Shining Path leaders Elena Iparraguirre and Abimael Guzman raise their fists after their trial was deferred on 5 November 2004.
Image caption Iparraguirre and Guzman went on hunger strike earlier this year, demanding to be allowed to marry

The jailed leaders of Peru's infamous Shining Path rebel group have married in a brief civil ceremony at a maximum-security prison near the capital, Lima.

Abimael Guzman, 75, founder of the Maoist guerrillas, married his partner of many years, Elena Iparraguirre, 62, said prison officials.

The two were captured in 1992 and later sentenced to life in prison on charges of terrorism.

Nearly 70,000 people were killed in the civil conflict the Shining Path began.

The couple, who are being held in separate prisons, announced their intention to marry in 2007 but were not allowed.

They went on hunger strike earlier this year until President Alan Garcia said they should be permitted, saying even "the most despicable criminal" should not be denied the right to marry.

The war with the Shining Path raged in the 1980s and '90s, but the group fell apart after Guzman and Iparraguirre, his number two, were captured.

Elements of the guerrilla group are still active in Peru's cocaine-producing regions, engaging in sporadic clashes with police and soldiers.

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