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2010-01-04

Former president Fujimori sentenced to 25 years in prison

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LIMA, Perú – Former president Alberto Fujimori’s 25-year prison sentence for ordering the mass-murders in the Lima suburb of Barrios Altos and at the La Cantuta University and the aggravated kidnappings of journalist Gustavo Gorriti and businessman Samuel Dyer Coriat has been upheld by the First Transitory Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court. The court’s five judges approved a previous Peruvian court’s ruling that had found Fujimori, 71, guilty on charges that he ordered the killings of 25 people during his presidency from 1990 to 2000. He will appeal the decision, according to his lawyer, César Nakazaki. Fujimori, Peru’s first leader to be extradited and tried, had pleaded not guilty to charges during his original 16-month trial, claiming he had no knowledge of the paramilitary death squads’ actions that led to his being charged. “This is a political verdict, not just a judicial one,” Nakazaki told Radioprogramas. “We will have to find another court to annul the sentence.” Last April, the former president was found guilty of commanding paramilitary squads, nicknamed the “Colina Group,” to murder 15 suspected rebel sympathizers during a barbeque in 1991 and nine college students and a professor a year later. He also was found guilty of ordering the kidnappings of Gorriti and Coriat, the chairman of fishmeal producer Copeinca ASA. Fujimori must serve at least 18 years of his sentence, the court ruled. [El Comercio, 1/3/10; El Tiempo, 1/3/10; Caracol Internacional, 1/3/10]

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