Peru wants Bolivian president's ex-aide extradited

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LIMA, Oct 25 (Reuters) Peru will seek to have a confidant of Bolivian President Evo Morales extradited on charges he belonged to the Tupac Amaru insurgency that destabilized Peru in the 1990s, Peruvian officials said.

Walter Chavez, a Peruvian national who worked as Morales' communications adviser until early this year, lives in Bolivia.

Peru's Supreme Court asked the president to file an extradition request.

''We have the obligation, when the Supreme Court wants an extradition, to ask for it,'' Peruvian President Alan Garcia told reporters yesterday.

Chavez, who won protection as a political refugee after moving to Bolivia in 1992, has denied he was a member of the armed leftist group Tupac Amaru. Because Bolivia considers Chavez a political refugee, it is unlikely to extradite him.

He was briefly detained in Peru in 1990 on accusations he extorted bribes by threatening businessmen with violence.

Chavez has supported democratic indigenous movements like the one led by Morales, a staunch leftist, by helping him get elected.

In late 1996, the Tupac Amaru captured the world's attention when 14 insurgents took 500 people hostage during a party at the Japanese ambassador's house in Lima.

In a tightly choreographed raid four months later, 140 Peruvian commandos stormed the building, killing all insurgents. All but one hostage survived.

Reuters AK VP0605

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