Alberto Fujimori's arrest and trial


Alberto Fujimori's arrest and trial

Alberto Fujimori was arrested and is currently on trial for a number of crimes related to corruption and human rights abuses that occurred during his government.

Background

After Fujimori fled Peru for Japan, the government of Peru requested his extradition. Because Japan recognizes Fujimori as a Japanese citizen rather than a Peruvian citizen, and because Japan refuses to extradite its citizens to other countries, Fujimori was not extradited from Japan.

Arrest in Chile/Extradition proceedings

On November 6 2005, Alberto Fujimori unexpectedly arrived in Santiago, Chile, on a private aircraft, having flown via Tijuana from Tokyo. His flight had passed through Peruvian airspace on its path from Mexico to Chile. There were numerous firings over alleged negligence in the handling of the Fujimori flight to Chile. [ [http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2005-11/23/content_497281.htm "Peruvian Interpol chief fired for negligence over Fujimori case"] ] As investigations continued, two Chilean and four Mexican immigration officers were dismissed for failing to notify superiors of Fujimori's stop at the time of his arrival. A Peruvian Interpol chief was also fired for negligence on the night when former Fujimori flew over Peru on his way to Chile. Colonel Carlos Medel, head of Interpol in Lima, apparently ordered his staff to switch off the 24-hour Interpol warning system from late November 5 to early November 6 when Fujimori happened to fly over Peruvian airspace on his way from Mexico to Chile.Fact|date=September 2007

Mexican officials have suggested Fujimori was not arrested in Mexico because there was no judicial order for his arrest. Chilean officials issued similar statements, reiterating that Chilean courts must process international arrest warrants to make them valid.fact|date=September 2007 Peru's former president, Alejandro Toledo, after learning of the arrival of Fujimori in Chile, called for an "urgent meeting" in the governmental palace. Toledo called Chile's foreign minister, Ignacio Walker, and requested the detention of Fujimori. A few hours later, Fujimori was detained on an arrest warrant issued by a Chilean judge, who was told by Chile's Supreme Court to consider Lima's request for Fujimori's pre-trial detention, as part of the extradition process. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4413176.stm "Fujimori arrested on visit to Chile"] ]

Fujimori was then transferred to the School of Investigations, Chile's Investigative Police academy, where he spent the night. Notified of the reasons for his arrest, Fujimori petitioned for provisional freedom during the extradition proceedings, but his petition was denied. Later in the day, he was transferred to the School of Gendarmerie, a training academy for corrections officers, where he was detained until May 2006.

The decision whether or not to extradite Fujimori was delegated by the Chilean government to the Supreme Court, following precedent dating to a 1932 extradition treaty between the two nations. Chilean law suggests that in addition to the terms of the treaty, extradition requests must also be based on whether there is sufficient evidence against the accused – not necessarily enough to convict him of the charges, but sufficient to justify (from a Chilean legal point of view) the indictments the accused faces. This has meant that Peruvian prosecutors have tried to demonstrate that the crimes for which Fujimori has been charged in Peru are just as severe in Chile. [Benjamin Witte, "Fujimori Nearly Chokes to Death in His Chile Home", "The Santiago Times" 10 February 2007.]

Peru, which had sixty days following Fujimori's detention to issue an extradition request, sent a high-level delegation to Chile, led by Interior Minister Rómulo Pizarro and a top prosecutor; this action, together with the fact that president Toledo said, on television, that "he personally will welcome Fujimori at the airport and conduct him to the jail," defined the situation as a political prosecution, according to many analysts. The government of Japan asked for "fair treatment" for Fujimori.

On May 18 2006 Fujimori was granted bail (set at US $2,830) by the Chilean Supreme Court. He left the School of Gendarmerie where he had been under arrest for more than six months and whisked him away to a house (coord|33.414446|S|70.528691|W|region:CL_type:landmark) rented for him by his family in the upscale Las Condes neighborhood of the Chilean capital. Because he was granted provisional freedom, he was not allowed to leave Chile. There were fears among some Peruvians that he could have escaped from the country.

Fujimori arrived at a time of tense relations between Chile and Peru, after Peru's Congress passed a law the previous week in an attempt to reclaim sea territory from Chile. Chilean foreign minister, Ignacio Walker, said Fujimori's action demonstrated "a very imprudent, very irresponsible attitude, considering this is the most difficult week we have had with Peru in the last decade". In a media statement, Fujimori said that he would stay in Chile temporarily while launching his candidacy for Peruvian president in the April 2006 elections.

Cesar Nakasaki, Fujimori's lawyer, in a television interview said Chile, because of its Judiciary reputation, was chosen as a preliminary step before travelling on to Peru; other analysts speculated that Fujimori chose Chile for its proximity to Peru and for the fact that extraditions from Chile to Peru have proved difficult in recent years.Fact|date=September 2007

The government of Peru sent a number of extradition requests to Chile concerning Peru. It requested his extradition to stand trial for murder in the cases of the Barrios Altos massacre and the La Cantuta massacre, both carried out by Grupo Colina. It also requested his extradition for kidnapping Samuel Dyer and Gustavo Gorriti, both of whom were abducted by Peruvian Army personnel during Fujimori's self-coup and brought to the basements of the Army Intelligence Service.

Additionally, he was charged with usurpation of powers and abuse of authority for ordering the illegal search and seizure of a house owned by Vladimiro Montesinos' wife; illicit association to commit a crime, embezzlement, and inserting false statements in a public document for paying Montesinos US$ 15 million; illicit association to commit a crime and active corruption of authorities for paying congressmen to switch parties and inform on the opposition parties; telephonic interference or eavesdropping, illicit association to commit a crime, and embezzlement for authorizing the illegal wiretapping of opposition figure's phones; and illicit association to commit a crime, embezzlement, and usurpation of powers for engaging in a fraudulent purchase of tractors from China and bribing newspapers and television stations with state money in order to obtain favorable news coverage. More recently, the Chilean judge overseeing the extradition proceedings of former President Fujimori refused to accept new evidence regarding 10 corruption and two human rights charges, which, according to the BBC News' Dan Collyns, "would have prolonged the case by several months". [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6160434.stm "Fujimori judge rejects case delay"] ]

According to Fujii Takahiko, one of the Japanese financiers who have covered some of Fujimori's expenses after the Chilean courts granted him conditional freedom last May, "Peru's ex-president Alberto Fujimori [calmly waited] for the decision of the Chilean Supreme Court because he [had] the assurance that he [would] not be extradited." It was reported that Fujii covered the cost of renting the house in which Fujimori currently resides in the up-scale Santiago neighborhood of Las Condes, while a cadre of businessmen and Japanese friends cover his living expenses. Fujii, a car exporter by trade, reported that Alberto Fujimori has largely forgotten his knowledge of the Japanese language. [ [http://images.rpp.com.pe/portada/politica/56171_1.php "Aseguran que grupo de empresarios financia gastos de Fujimori en Chile" (Spanish)] ] , [ [http://www.livinginperu.com/news/2774 Summary at the "Living in Peru" website] ]

On November 22 2006, it was reported that the Peruvian government had issued a new arrest warrant for Fujimori, alleging that he ordered the death of 20 members of Sendero Luminoso in 1992. Fujimori has denied the charge. [ [http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/view.php?StoryID=20061122-083601-2121r "Peru issues new warrant for Fujimori"] ]

On January 11 2007 Chile's Supreme Court rejected a motion for an additional investigation filed by lawyers for Fujimori whom Peru is still seeking to extradite. This new ruling coincided with the Peruvian government's anger over the recent Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ruling that found Peru guilty of crimes committed during former President Fujimori’s regime. [ [http://www.justicetribune.com/?page=v2_article&id=3658 "Fujimori pulls Lima in opposite directions"] ] The Peruvian government has expressed concerns that Fujimori may try and escape from Chile. [ [http://www.plenglish.com/article.asp?ID=%7B245E3B0C-F384-4204-8208-FC55E7BE1B4B%7D&language=EN "Chile-Peru, Old and New Tensions", Prensa Latina] ] Although Fujimori was on parole, with stipulations banning him from leaving Chile, at the end of January 2007 he traveled to a beach resort aboard a private airplane.

On February 1 2007 Reuters reported that the Peruvian government's final report on Fujimori's extradition included additional evidence supporting the former president's links to human rights abuses. In the words of Carlos Briceno, Peru's special corruption prosecutor, "We've practically finished the report, in which there is irrefutable proof [against Fujimori] ". For his part, Fujimori denies the human rights and embezzlement charges.

On February 8 2007 the Peruvian government filed a formal request with the United States for the extradition of Fujimori's younger brother, Pedro Fujimori. According to the head of the Peruvian Justice Ministry's Unit for Extraditions, Omar Chehade, Pedro Fujimori is charged with corruption associated with reception of illegal donations for an NGO, Apenkai, founded at the outset of Fujimori’s first term in office. Chehade reported to Reuters that Pedro Fujimori oversaw Japanese donations to the Peruvian government, and that he allegedly siphoned off as much as $30,000,000 USD into his own personal bank accounts in the United States.

A spokesperson for the Fujimorista party, Congressman Carlos Raffo, denied the charges calling them unsubstantiated, and noted that there are no signs of corruption on the part of Pedro Fujimori. [ [http://www.livinginperu.com/news/3164 "Peru files extradition request for brother of ex-President Fujimori"] ]

Chilean judge rejects Fujimori extradition

On July 20 2007 the Chilean Supreme Court judge Orlando Álvarez, ruled that he had not found any evidence linking former president Alberto Fujimori with all the corruption cases and alleged human rights violations of which the Toledo congress had accused him. [ [http://www.juicioysancionafujimori.org/ingles/documentos/Alvarez.doc Excerpts from Judge Orlando Álvarez Hernández’s decision regarding the extradition of Alberto Fujimori from Chile to Peru] . Translated by Michael Baney.] The judge's ruling can be found [http://www.japonenespanol.com/CasoFujimori/2007/InformeAlvarez/top.htm here] . The ruling was appealed to the Chilean Supreme Court. Judge Álvarez declared to the Chilean newspaper "El Mercurio" that all the accusations were based on gossip and innuendo. "He [Fujimori] was supposed to know those criminal acts". Judge Álvarez later sparked controversy when he admitted that he had copied some of his opinion from a brief filed by Fujimori. Fact|date=September 2007

The opinion was immediately appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court announced that it would reach a decision on September 5, 2007. This provoked a strong reaction from Omar Chehade, one of the prosecutors in charge declaring that he had information that the decision would be "cooked" and that there was no way that the Supreme Court could possibly read and analyize all of the petitions submitted to it in such a short time. This opinion was immediately repudiated by many. On the day of its expected decision, however, the Court announced that it would postpone its analysis of the case because one of the judges working on it had a pain in his ear. fact|date=September 2007

Chilean Supreme Court grants Fujimori extradition

The Chilean Supreme Court granted Fujimori's extradition to Peru on September 21 2007, on 7 of 13 charges. The Barrios Altos massacre and La Cantuta massacre related charges were accepted unanimously, while four other corruption-related charges were passed by a majority of votes. One corruption charge was passed unanimously. [ [http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070921/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/chile_fujimori;_ylt=AmklDZsPHqE5XvCwb7dkYfys0NUE "Chile's Supreme Court grants Fujimori's extradition to Peru"] ]

On September 21, 2007, Peruvian police sent a plane to receive Fujimori. The plane (with Peru's General Director of National Police, David Rodriguez, and four Interpol officers and doctors) arrived in Santiago on the morning of September 22, 2007. The next day, Alberto Fujimori's plane returned to Lima's Las Palmas air force base. He was flown by helicopter to a police base, to be held in detention until a permanent facility is prepared. [ [http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/6268873.html "Peruvian police to take Fujimori back from Chile"] ]

First conviction

In the first court case against him, Fujimori confessed that he had ordered an illegal search of Vladimiro Montesinos's house, an accusation he had previously denied. On December 11, 2007, the Peruvian court sentenced him to six years in prison and fined him 400,000 soles (135,000 U.S. dollars) for abuse of powers in ordering this search, which took place shortly before he left office. [http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5jevvOxthPS9xWVObkNOZ5o3shK1g "Peru's Fujimori sentenced to six years for abuse of power"] [http://www.aprodeh.org.pe/fujimori2007/documentos/Sentencia_allanamiento_fujimori.pdf Sentence in the case] The conviction was handed down in a case heard separately from a trial that opened the day before, on December 10, for alleged human rights violations.

On April 10, 2008, the Supreme Court of Peru upheld Fujimori's sentence of six years in the case. [Corte Suprema de la República. December 10, 2008. [http://www.pj.gob.pe/CorteSuprema/spe/Documentos/exp_AV-13-2003_2da_SPE_150408.pdf Resolution 17-2008] .]

Peruvian General Elections

Martha Chávez was "Sí Cumple"'s candidate for the April 6 2006 presidential elections. Keiko Fujimori was a congressional candidate representing the Fujimori party. While Chávez got about 7.43% of the votes for the presidency, Keiko Fujimori received the highest vote count overall with 602,869 votes. "Sí Cumple" won 13 seats in the new Congress. [ [http://200.48.60.75/resultados2006/1ravuelta/index.onpe 2006 Peru Election Results (Spanish)] ]

Some of "Sí Cumple"'s members occupy powerful positions in the resulting congress, such as Luisa Maria Cuculiza, who is the Vice-President of Congress, Rolando Souza, who was formerlyAlberto Fujimori's lawyer and now president of the International Affairs Committee, and Santiago Fujimori, who is now president of the Energy Committee. Keiko Fujimori, is president of the Peruvian-Chilean Friendship Commission.

Japanese politics

In June 2007, Fujimori announced his candidacy for the House of Councillors, the upper house of the Diet of Japan under the banner of the People's New Party, a minor party with only eight lawmakers. Still under house arrest in Chile at the time, Fujimori's initial campaign statements were conveyed by party head Shizuka Kamei. Japan's government determined in 2000 that Fujimori holds Japanese citizenship. The Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications issued a statement in response, pointing out that there is no law banning participation in an election by someone under house arrest in a foreign country. [ [http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20070629a2.html "Prisoner Fujimori to run in Japanese elections"] ]

The announcement has sparked speculation that Fujimori's candidacy is a maneuver to win diplomatic immunity as an elected official and avoid trial in Peru. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said her country's Supreme Court would not be influenced by the move and will soon decide whether to grant an extradition request to return Fujimori to Peru. [ [http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070628/ap_on_re_as/japan_fujimori_7 "Fujimori's Japanese intentions"] ]

On July 11 2007, Chile's Supreme Court turned down the Peruvian government's request that Fujimori be extradited there to face charges of human rights violations; however, he remained under house arrest in Chile, and it was unclear whether he would be permitted to depart for Japan. Though much of the Japanese public have a favourable view of Fujimori due to his role in the resolution of the 1997 Japanese embassy hostage crisis, members of the Democratic Party of Japan and the Japanese Communist Party questioned his commitment to Japan and accused him of using the election to avoid justice in Peru. [ [http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200707130086.html "Odd Man Out"] ]

Japan indicated on July 5 2007 that it had no plans for now to ask Chile to allow Alberto Fujimori to return for this month's upper house election. The leader of the People's New Party had urged Japan's Foreign Minister to take up the issue with the government of Chile. [ [http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070705/wl_asia_afp/japanperuchilefujimoripolitics_070705083803 "Japan withdraws request to Chile re Alberto Fujimori"] ] Fujimori ultimately lost the election.

References

External links

*APRODEH. [http://www.juicioysancionafujimori.org/ingles/albertofujimori.htm The trial of Alberto Fujimori] .
* [http://fujimoriontrial.org/ Fujimori on Trial :: Fujimori procesado]


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