Ten ex-ministers sentenced for 1992 “Auto Coup” ahead of Fujimori trial

The Special Criminal Sector of Peru’s Supreme Court has found ex-Interior Minister Juan Briones Dávila guilty of rebellion and kidnapping charges during ex-President Alberto Fujimori’s 1992 self-coup, local Peruvian media reported Monday. Briones has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay 50,000 soles, or about $16,500, in civil reparation to people detained by security forces during the self-coup, including current Cabinet Chief Jorge Del Castillo.

Nine other ex-ministers were found guilty of rebellion for their collaboration in the “self-coup.” They are Jaime Yoshiyama, Carlos Boloña, Absalón Vásquez, Víctor Joy Way, Óscar de la Puente, Jaime Sobero, Alfredo Ross, Víctor Paredes and Augusto Antonioli. They were sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to pay 3 million soles, or about $1 million, in reparation to the State.

Fujimori’s “self-coup” dissolved Congress on April 5, 1992, amid a faltering economy and raging guerrilla insurgency. Fujimori justified the self-coup saying, ¨parliamentary inaction and judicial corruption have taken a clear obstructionist attitude … against the efforts of the people and the government.¨

But Felipe Osterling, who was president of Peru’s Senate — which Fujimori permanently dissolved to create the current unicameral Congress — told daily El Comercio the self-coup was ¨completely unjustified, Congress never obstructed executive work but assisted it … It was like a heart attack for a constitutional and democratic system.¨

Institute for Legal Defense lawyer, Carlos Rivera, told Ideele radio the ex-ministers sentencing is especially relevant for Fujimori’s trial, scheduled for December 10. ¨A major risk in the sentencing, is that a decision of this magnitude could be used by the defense of Alberto Fujimori,¨ says Rivera. ¨I hope the Supreme Court doesn’t surprise us by exonerating some of them or the entire group. That would provide significant backing and be a victory for Alberto Fujimori.¨

The ex-ministers received more lenient sentences than requested by the Public Ministry, the public body responsible for protecting legality and human rights. According to Radio Programas radio, the Public Ministry asked for 12 to 18 years in prison rather than the four to 10 they received.

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