Fujimori’s precancerous mouth lesion a ploy, critics say

Critics believe former President Fujimori’s precancerous mouth condition, leukoplakia, is being used as a ploy to obtain a mistrial and to distract public attention from the testimony given by retired army Gen. Rodolfo Robles, who has told the court that Fujimori was fully aware of the Colina death squad’s assassinations of Maoist Shining Path sympathizers under orders from the National Intelligence Service, SIN.

“The medical problems exist,” prosecutor Carlos Rivera said, but they are being “used politically” by the Fujimori defense team to set the trial off-track.

Dr. Eloy Loayza, of Peru’s National Neoplasia Institute, INEN, and other medical specialists examined Fujimori in his jail cell Thursday.

Though the medical report has yet to be made public, Dr. Loayza told the president of the Special Criminal Court, César San Martín, that Fujimori “is a very healthy person for his age,” and that no health issue impedes him from standing trial.

According to Peruvian law, a trial may be suspended for a maximum of eight working days if the defendant requires medical attention or treatment. Exceeding this limit would force the judge to call for a mistrial.

“Generally, hospitalization for this type of surgery lasts from three to four days,” Doctor Pedro Sánchez of the INEN told El Comercio Friday. “When the lesions are small, the patient can even be admitted to the outpatient department.”

The medical evaluation means that “a mistrial is very unlikely,” criminal lawyer Luis Lamas-Puccio said.

“And even if they do operate him and he was rendered unable to speak,” Lamas-Puccio added, “we could provide him with a computer so that he could communicate,” and continue to stand trial.

Fujimori’s lawyer, César Nakasaki, adamantly argued that his client’s surgery and recuperation would not exceed five to six days. But, “the law provides for a suspension that can range from eight to 12 days,” he told RPP Radio on Friday.

“Therefore, there isn’t any danger,” he said. “First of all because the law won’t allow it, and secondly, because my client has asked me to take all the necessary steps to ensure that the trial continues.”

Fujimori is to be monitored for the next 15 days. The former President suffered from a similar lesion during the second term of his presidency in the 1990s.

Earlier in the week, the trial was suspended for one day while Fujimori recovered from gastro-intestinal complaints. Gen. Robles continued giving testimony a day later. A week earlier, Robles told the courtroom that ex-President Fujimori “did everything possible to cover-up the (Colina group) criminals and the authors of the assassinations at La Cantuta and Barrios Altos.” Robles’ career ended and his family was threatened when he blew the whistle on the SIN activities.

Fujimori could face a 30-year jail sentence if found guilty for sanctioning the death squad.

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