Congresswoman Keiko Fujimori says she wouldn’t hesitate to pardon her father if she’s elected Peru’s president in 2011

Jailed ex-President Alberto Fujimori’s eldest daughter and probable 2011 presidential candidate says she “would not hesitate” to grant her father amnesty if she takes up residence again in the Government Palace as commander and chief.

“I trust that my father will be declared innocent, but if the time comes, and if I am president, I won’t hesitate to grant amnesty to any person that I believe is innocent and punish those who are criminals,” Keiko Fujimori said in a TV interview last night on the news show Cuarto Poder, which was widely reported in Peru’s newspapers Monday morning.

Many people have been unjustly condemned by Peru’s judicial system because of vengeance and “political barbarity,” she contended. “But such things should not occur.”

Keiko Fujimori was still a college student at Boston University when her father locked her mother out of the presidential palace in response to her going public with corruption allegations against his government. He asked his oldest daughter to return to Peru to serve as first lady, which she did for four years until he fled the country and his government crumbled amid massive corruption scandals in November 2000.

In 2006, while her father was fighting extradition back to Peru from Chile, Keiko Fujimori was elected to Congress with the highest vote total of any candidate. She has repeatedly declared that her father, who is currently standing trial for allegedly sanctioning a paramilitary dead squad during his decade-long authoritarian presidency, has done nothing but promote peace and democracy, defeat terrorism and restore Peru’s economy.

“We believe he wasn’t wrong, and the proof of this is that of the 48 legal proceedings initiated against him, only 7 are left and they have been converted into 3 mega trials. And as for the worst crimes he has allegedly committed, such as the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta cases, after 67 hearings it had been made evident that he is innocent,” she said.

Public prosecutor Avelino Guillén, she argued, “isn’t talking about Fujimori’s ties with the Colina group, but about the contradictions made by witnesses who are allegedly falsifying their statements to help him.”

Last week, retired army Gen. Julio Salazar Monroe, who was recently sentenced to 35 years in prison for his role in the 1992 La Cantuta University massacre, carried out by the Colina Group paramilitary death squad, testified in Fujimori’s trial.

He retracted sworn statements he allegedly gave to police in 2001 that implicated the former president and his spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos. The original testimony, he argued, was taken in a prison cell while he “was nervous” and was based on pure supposition.

“Prosecutors like Guillén forget that the witnesses, here as well as anywhere in the world, have the right to rectify themselves, especially when they say their first statements were obtained forcibly and during arbitrary detention, as is the case of Julio Salazar Monroe,” Keiko Fujimori said.

Keiko Fujimori also responded to critics who have alleged that her father’s health problems are being used as a ploy to obtain a mistrial.

“It is impossible to deny the fact that my father has a very frail health. If they can jolt their memories just a little bit, they will remember that when he was extradited in September 2007, he suffered from chronic hypertension,” she said. “And now it has been demonstrated that he suffers from oedemas in both legs, acute lumbago, circulatory disorders and cancerous leukoplakia.”

Fujimori’s trial was suspended for eight days last Wednesday afternoon to allow doctors to surgically remove a pre-cancerous lesion in his mouth. The trial is to resume June 11.

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