Peru moves Shining Path ex-rebel from prison to house arrest

The Shining Path guerrilla's ex-deputy commander, Osman Morote, pictured here in October 2003, was moved from prison to house arrest as he faces new terrorism charges

Osman Morote, the ex-deputy leader of Peru's once feared Shining Path guerrillas, was moved from prison to house arrest Friday after 30 years behind bars, his attorney said.

The 73 year-old Morote left the Piedras Gordas prison just north of Lima in a personal vehicle under heavy police protection.

He drove to the home of a relative in Chaclacayo, 30 kilometers (20 miles) east of Lima, his attorney Manuel Fajardo told AFP.

The Maoist Shining Path waged a bloody guerrilla campaign against the Peruvian government between 1980 and 2000.

In all, some 70,000 people were killed in a war between the army, the Maoist guerrillas and another leftist rebel group, the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA).

Morote had been sentenced for terrorism, and his court-authorized release was met with howls of outrage by the country's politicians, including President Martin Vizcarra.

Morote was captured and imprisoned in 1988, when the maximum prison sentence was 25 years behind bars.

Punishment for terrorism cases, however, got tougher: when top Shining Path leader Abimael Guzman was captured in 1992, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Guzman, now 83, is serving his sentence in a prison at a naval base just outside Lima.

Morote should have been released in 2013, but legal challenges kept him behind bars.

He faces three other terrorism cases that -- if he's found guilty -- would send him back to jail.

Margot Liendo, another ex-Shining Path leader, will also move to house arrest under the same court order.

Nearly 5,000 former Shining Path guerrillas have been released from prison since 2001.

The Shining Path suffered a crippling blow when Guzman was captured in 1992, followed by a string of other top leaders.

Today, a largely defunct, renegade group of fighters are still hides out in the jungle, thriving in drug trafficking.