Peru’s Fujimori sentenced to 7½ years in prison for corruption and bribery

Former President Alberto Fujimori – already serving a 25-year sentence meted out last April for sanctioning a paramilitary death squad – was found guilty Monday of corruption and bribery.

The court sentenced Fujimori to 7½ years, to run concurrently with the longer prison term.

“This was not a political sentence,” said Chief Judge César San Martin, in response to Fujimori’s testimony, in which he said that he would never find “justice, because not freeing Fujimori means keeping the country’s political arena just as it is.”

Fujimori, who said he would appeal the ruling to a separate panel of judges, was convicted of illegally channeling nearly $15 million in government funds as a bonus to his spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos. The money was transferred just two months before Fujimori’s 10-year presidency collapsed due to a whirlwind of scandal, which erupted after videos emerged showing Montesinos bribing opposition politicians and media magnates.

Last week, Fujimori admitted to the allegations, but denied culpability, arguing that the payment to Montesinos was not illegal because he had later reimbursed the state. Fujimori claimed he paid off Montesinos because he feared Montesinos was plotting a coup against him, and wanted to preserve political stability.

Last April, Fujimori, was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment, following a verdict of guilty on four counts of human rights violations. Fujimori was found guilty on all charges for allowing the Colina group paramilitary death squad to operate. The death squad gunned down 25 people in two notorious massacres during the first two years of his 10-year authoritarian rule.

Fujimori, who turns 71 this month, is already serving a six-year sentence for a separate case in which he was found guilty of abusing power for sending agents to steal incriminating documents and tapes from the home of Montesinos’ wife.

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