Jailed former President Alberto Fujimori to personally deliver closing statement next week

Jailed ex President Alberto Fujimori — currently on trial for human rights violations — has been authorized to personally deliver his closing statement next Monday and Wednesday, in what will be the final stretch of a more than year-long marathon trial, reported daily El Comercio.

Fujimori, 70, is expected to argue that his government never adopted an official policy authorizing the violation of human rights, and that he was unaware of abuses committed by members of the Armed Forces and security services.

The former President has been on trial for more than a year for allegedly sanctioning the Grupo Colina death squad, believed to be responsible for atrocities committed during his 1990-2000 rule. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $3 million.

The Colina group machine gunned 15 people, including an 8-year-old boy, in the courtyard of a tenement building in Lima’s Barrios Altos district in 1991 and kidnapped and murdered nine students and one professor at La Cantuta University in 1992 — two days after a car bomb ignited by Maoist Shining Path rebels killed more than 40 people in Lima.

Although a ruling is expected by mid-April, both sides could potentially appeal the court’s final decision, meaning the trial, which began in December 2007, could drag on for several more months.

Prosecutor José Pelaez has promised to appeal any sentence under 30 years, and Fujimori’s lawyer, Cesar Nakazaki is sure to contest a guilty verdict or stiff sentence.

Once Fujimori’s trial for human rights violations comes to an end, he will face another set of charges for corruption. Chile granted Peru’s request for Fujimori’s extradition in 2007 based on seven accusations, all of which form separate trials.

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