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Americas

Fujimori to testify in human rights abuse trial

Latest update : 2009-04-07

Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, accused of leading a "dirty war" against leftist insurgents, testifies in his human rights abuse trial on Wednesday. Already serving six years for abuse of power, he faces a further 30 years in jail.

AFP - Former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori is scheduled to testify Wednesday and Friday as his lengthy human rights abuse trial draws to an end.
  
Fujimori, president from 1990-2000, is accused of ordering two massacres that killed 25 people and designing a "dirty war" strategy to combat leftist insurgents including the Maoist Shining Path group and the Tupac Amaru guerrilla movement.
  
The iron-willed ex-president, now in poor health, has been on trial since December 2007. He is already serving a six-year prison term for abuse of power in an unrelated case.
  
The trial's presiding judge, Cesar San Martin, said Monday that Fujimori would testify in his defense on Wednesday and Friday.
  
The special tribunal handling the case will announce the date of its sentence once Fujimori completes his testimony, San Martin said, after his defense team presented its closing arguments on Monday.
  
Fujimori, 70, has long maintained he is innocent. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison.
  
The ex-president's attorney Cesar Nakazaki, speaking in the 158th trial session, asked the tribunal Monday "to absolve my client for the lack of proof on the charges pertaining to the charges of assassinations, injuries and kidnapping."
  
The case against Fujimori focuses on the November 1991 massacre in the neighborhood of Barrios Altos, in which 15 people were killed, and the July 1992 shooting at La Cantuta University, in which 10 people were killed. A hit squad of Peruvian soldiers carried out the killings.
  
But Nakazaki said "it has not been proven that (Fujimori) was in a leadership role" that would have allowed him to "dictate the orders that led to the killings of Barrios Altos and La Cantuta."
  
Fujimori is also on trial for the 1992 abductions of journalist Gustavo Gorriti and businessman Samuel Dyer.
  
The ex-president's trial has been suspended several times due to his ill health. In May, Fujimori had a cancerous growth removed from his tongue, and in September a benign tumor was extracted from his pancreas.
  
Fujimori is the first democratically-elected president in Latin America to be brought to trial for human rights violations.
  
He fled to Tokyo in 2000 amid a corruption scandal and resigned the presidency by fax from his hotel.
  
Japan considered Fujimori, whose parents were Japanese, to be a national and refused to extradite him. But Fujimori traveled in 2005 to Chile, which granted an extradition request from Peru to send him for trial.

Date created : 2009-04-01

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