Peruvian ex-military wanted for rights violations faces extradition from Spain

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MADRID (Reuters) - A Spanish court has begun processing an extradition request filed by Peru against a former military officer charged with crimes against humanity stemming from a conflict against Maoist guerrillas in the 1980s, a court document showed on Tuesday.

Augusto Gabilondo, a former lieutenant in the Peruvian military, was detained in Spain on Friday and freed on parole, though he is banned from leaving the country and has to report to a tribunal every two weeks, the document said. His passport was withheld.

Gabilondo headed a military base in the 1980s in the central Andes, according to Peru's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, at a time when state forces were embroiled in a ruthless war with the Shining Path insurgency, a Maoist guerrilla movement that sought to topple the national government.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison late last year by a Peruvian court for the disappearance of a man and was scheduled to face another trial over another alleged disappearances when he went missing, according to the Instituto de Defensa Legal, a Peruvian human rights organization.

Gabilondo could not be reached for comment.

An estimated 69,000 Peruvians died in the conflict with the Shining Path, according to official figures. Many bodies were never recovered and while the guerrilla group is blamed for having killed the most, state forces often struggled to distinguish innocent peasants from rebels.

Prosecutors in Peru have requested a 25-year conviction in the second trial in a case that included the disappearance of a journalist after he was arrested by the police.

Peruvian courts are still trying cases involving the Shining Path, trying to establish responsibility for massacres and human rights violations during the period.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro in Madrid; Additional reporting by Marcelo Rochabrun in Lima; Editing by Alistair Bell)