Peruvian Guerilla Leader Says He Was Not Captured, but he Surrendered

By Dialogo
December 28, 2012

The leader of a surviving remnant front from Shining Path rejected terrorism and drug trafficking crimes he was charged with, and he assured that he was never captured but he voluntarily surrendered to the police.

“I am not the direct, intermediate, or intellectual executor of any terrorist actions; I’m a politician and I reject all accusations,” Florindo Eleuterio Flores Hala, aka “Comrade Artemio,” said, while Prosecutor Luis Landa has requested he should be sentenced to life imprisonment.

He also rejected the version from the security forces that he had been captured in February this year.

“Nobody captured me; I decided to surrender voluntarily, and there is a film recording of the moment in which I surrendered,” he said during the second hearing taking place in the prison of a naval base in El Callao port, west of Lima.

Flores Hala, accused of being a Shining Path’s regional leader in a vast jungle area in central Peru, asked that the official to whom he surrendered be a witness in the trial, and that his voluntary surrender video be shown.

The prosecutor is accusing him of executing several terrorist actions, for the death of 60 police officers, and targeted murders of civilians. He is also being charged with drug crimes and money laundering.

The accused has been charged with leading an armed People’s Guerrilla Army after the capture of Abimael Guzmán in September 1992, founder and top leader of the Shining Path, and whose detention and life imprisonment marked the downfall of that insurgent group.

Shining Path started an armed conflict in 1980, two decades that left a toll of 69,000 murdered and missing people, according a report issued by the Commission of Truth and Reconciliation.