Peru Considers Sweeping Law Aiding Criminal, Terrorist Investigations

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Peru’s Congress is currently considering a legislative package intended to aid the security forces in the fight against organized crime and terrorism, which would increase the penalties for those accused of promoting “terrorist” propaganda, among other measures. 

Peru’s Executive Branch sent the legislative package to Congress for review on December 15, reports Peruvian news agency Andina. The proposal was first announced in September

One of the reforms would raise the minimum sentence for those convicted of recruiting or training members of a terrorist group to between 20 to 25 years in prison. Another reform would mandate prison sentences of between eight to 12 years in prison for those convicted of trying to register a political party that promotes terrorist activity, according to newspaper La Republica. Those accused of using a political organization as a facade to promote “terrorist messages” would also face sanctions. 

Other proposed reforms are meant to give the security forces new tools to investigate criminal groups. This includes streamlining the process by which the government may seize criminal assets. The proposal also lays out new procedures for allowing collaborating witnesses to gain access to certain benefits, including witness protection.

InSight Crime Analysis

Much of the proposed reforms appear aimed at the political group known as the Leaders of the Movement for Amnesty and Fundamental Rights (Movadef), a movement linked to guerrilla group the Shining Path. One of Movadef’s stated aims is to secure the release of Shining Path founder Abimael Guzman, currently serving a life sentence. The movement has caused no small amount of controversy, as the Shining Path is described as a terrorist organization by the Peruvian government (as well as the US, European Union, and Canada). Movadef tried to become a registered political party earlier this year, but was blocked from doing so. This latest set of proposed reforms, if signed into law, appear intended to intimidate Movadef supporters from attempting to do so again.

Movadef raised new concerns in Peru after reports emerged that the movement was active in Argentina, reportedly participating in a meeting with social organization the Mothers of the Plaza del Mayo. Movadef also organized a protest before the Peruvian Embassy in Mexico last September. With Movadef showing some signs of being able to mobilize supporters far outside of Peru, the government’s proposed reforms are likely meant to severely limit the group’s ability to operate at home. 

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