Ex-President Fujimori resorts to sandals to ease numbness during trial

Ex-President Alberto Fujimori showed up to court in suit, tie and cheap sandals Monday to hear continuing testimony in his trial for allegedly sanctioning the Colina group paramilitary death squad.

Fujimori, 69, donned the odd attire one week after he apologized for falling asleep in his chair and not wearing socks. Judge César San Martin had to wake the slumbering defendant by ringing his bell as he shouted, “Mister Fujimori! Do you have a health issue or are you just tired.”

Fujimori complained of back pain and numbness in his legs.

State doctors examined Fujimori and determined he is suffering from swollen ankles due to the long court sessions, but was otherwise stable.

Fujimori is accused of authorizing the Colina group to execute 15 people in Lima’s Barrios Altos district in 1991 and nine students and one professor at La Cantuta University in 1992, suspected of having ties to the Maoist Shining Path insurgency. He faces 30 years in prison if convicted.

Journalist Umberto Jara, author of the book “Eye for an Eye,” written with information given to him by alleged Colina group leader Maj. Santiago Martin Rivas, continued testimony on the stand. Rivas, who provided Jara with in-depth videotaped interviews about the death squad operations and implicated Fujimori, has denied any knowledge of Colina group in court.

“From the inquiries I made, Barrios Altos is a typical action of low intensity war, for the message it sends and for the psychological element,” Jara said. “Barrios Altos was an objective that accomplished its objective: To start a low intensity war.”

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