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2009-03-02

Fujimori will receive sentence at the end of March

Winston F. Burges

The final verdict for former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori will be announced at the end of March, following 14 months of trial by the Supreme Court of Peru. Fujimori faces a 30-year sentence, accused of homicide, kidnapping and grievous bodily harm.

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Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori at his trial in Lima for \"crimes against humanity\" related to his campaign against terrorism when he was in power.

Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori at his trial in Lima for \"crimes against humanity\" related to his campaign against terrorism when he was in power.

LIMA, Perú – The trial against former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori will go on until the end of March as a result of complex defence strategies from his lawyer, César Nakazaki, according to El Comercio. If he is declared guilty, Fujimori will appeal to international courts, his lawyer told Reuters.

Although Mr Nakazaki is confident that his client will be acquitted, he declared that the defence planned to present an “appeal for annulment” to quash a possible sentence, before going before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, based in Costa Rica.

Seventy-year-old Fujimori faces a prison sentence of up to 30 years on charges of crimes against humanity during his time as president, including murder, grievous bodily harm and kidnapping in the “Barrios Altos” and “La Cantuta” massacres in 1991 and 1992 when 25 people were killed by a covert military group as part of the government's counter-terrorism campaign.

The delay in sentencing is due to the 11-point defence put forward by Nakazaki, of which only three arguments have been presented so far. Once his defence has been presented, Fujimoru will take the stand, without any time limit. Five days after the defence case is heard, the judges of the Special Criminal Tribunal of the Supreme Court, in charge of trying the former head of state, will pass sentence.

La República commented that, due to the unusual length of the trial, the court will only read a summary of the final verdict which will be “extensive and full of complex evidence, requiring many hours to read”.

Alberto Fujimori was president of Peru for 10 years from July 1990 to November 2000, when he stepped down and fled to Japan, where he also holds citizenship.

In spite of reiterated requests from Peru for Fujimori's extradition, Japan did not comply.

However in November 2006, Fujimori arrived unexpectedly in Santiago, Chile, of his own accord, where he was arrested under an international warrant issued by Peru. Almost two years later, in September 2007, the former president was extradited to Peru where the trial against him began.

Peruvians have followed the trial closely on television and are anxious to hear the verdict. An online survey carried out by Perú21, showed that 73 percent of those asked believed Alberto Fujimori would be found guilty. 

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