Fujimori faces Dec. 11 verdict

Peru’s Supreme Magistrate, Pedro Guillermo Urbina, announced yesterday that jailed ex-President Alberto Fujimori will face verdict for the first of seven human rights and corruption charges on December 11.

Fujimori is accused of sending military officers who posed as judicial officials with a fake search warrant to seize videos from the apartment of former presidential advisor and intelligence chief, Vladimiro Montesinos. Fujimori, 69, faces up to seven years in prison and a fine of 1,000,000 soles, or about $338,000, if convicted. The verdict is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. at the judicial head office in Ate Vitarte.

The incident occurred November 7, 2000, only a few months after a secret video tape was released showing Montesinos bribing an opposition congressman. Subsequent investigations revealed a web of corruption and illegal activity in Fujimori’s administration.

Prosecutors contend that Fujimori, in collusion with ex-Interior Minister Juan Briones Dávila, issued a fake search warrant for the apartment of Montesinos’ ex-wife, Trinidad Becerra, with the intention of finding and eliminating evidence that could implicate him.

Fujimori’s supporters argue there is little chance he will receive a fair trial. Santiago Fujimori, the ex-Presidents brother, told 24 Horas Libre Peru, ¨justice conditions haven’t changed. I still think conditions for a just and impartial trial don’t exist. There are too many political components.¨

But Justice Minister María Zavala told Agencia Andina today that Fujimori’s trials will be impartial. ¨I am completely convinced that the judges overseeing the trials are the best, with their ample professional and academic experience.¨

The verdict is scheduled to occur a day after Fujimori begins his trial for alleged human rights violations. He is accused of ordering the 1991 Barios Altos and 1992 La Cantuta massacres during the height of Peru’s internal armed conflict with Shining Path and MRTA guerrillas. If convicted of those charges, he could face 30 years in prison.

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