Federal prosecutor in Fujimori trial replaced

The state prosecutor in the human rights trial of Alberto Fujimori was temporarily replaced in court after faltering in his questioning of the jailed ex-president, who is accused of sanctioning a paramilitary death squad during his 1990-2000 regime.

José Antonio Peláez was widely criticized by Peru’s main human rights organization for his direct examination of Fujimori on Wednesday. His imprecise and confused interrogation of Fujimori was attributed to the death of his father-in-law.

Gloria Cano, a lawyer for Peru’s APRODEH human rights group, said on Thursday ¨Peláez should have been at the funeral on Wednesday night and the burial yesterday and it is very likely he hasn’t prepared for the interrogation tomorrow.¨ Lawyers Ronald Gamarra and Carlos Rivera, who are representing the families of the victims from the La Cantuta and Barrios Altos massacres, also criticized his courtroom performance.

Peláez was replaced on Friday by prosecutor Avelino Guillén, who has first-hand knowledge of the case from his involvement in Fujimori’s extradition from Chile.

¨This was a different type of interrogation, more precise, meticulous and Fujimori was forced against the ropes,¨ Rivera said after Friday’s proceedings. ¨The questions made Fujimori say about 40 times ‘I don’t remember’ or ‘I wasn’t aware of that.’¨

Fujimori’s human rights trial is scheduled to continue on Nov. 17 with the return of Peláez.

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