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Americas

Ex-President Fujimori gets six years for corruption

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-09-30

Peru's former president Alberto Fujimori (pictured) has been given a six-year jail term for corruption during his administration. The disgraced former premier is already serving 25 years behind bars for human rights violations.

AFP - Peru's former president Alberto Fujimori, already serving 25 years behind bars for human right violations, was handed a new term Wednesday this time sentenced to six years in jail for corruption.
  
The ex-president said he would appeal the latest sentence the minute it was read out. And prosecutor Jose Pelaez said the punishment was too weak for the crime, and that he, too, would appeal.
  
Fujimori, 71, admitted to bribing opposition lawmakers, illegal purchase of a media outlet and wiretapping politicians, journalists and businesspeople at the start of his fourth and final trial earlier this week.
  
In Peru, however, multiple prison sentences are not combined.
  
Rather the individual convicted serves the longest term, in Fujimori's case the 25-year sentence he received last April. It has been appealed but analysts see it as unlikely to be reversed, and he faces the potential of spending the rest of his life behind bars.
  
The court, in the same police headquarters where Fujimori is being held, separately Wednesday ordered the former president -- who was in office from 1990-2000 -- to pay a fine worth eight million US dollars to the state and one million to the 28 political leaders and journalists that his regime targeted.
  
It was the last of four trials against Fujimori, capping a spectacular fall from grace with a degree of accountability not always achieved in Peru, which has a long history of corruption woes.
  
Prior to Wednesday's sentence, Fujimori already had three convictions and sentences handed down. In two prior corruption cases, the ex-president was sentenced to six and seven years respectively.
  
Fujimori's political downfall came in 2000. His security chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, was exposed in a video broadcast on television apparently buying off an opposition lawmaker. The ensuing scandal forced Fujimori to announce new elections in which he would not take part.
  
In November that year, Fujimori fled to Japan from Brunei and sent a fax from Tokyo announcing his resignation. Congress refused to accept it and instead voted to sack him and ban him from public office for 10 years.
  
In 2005, Fujimori, who was trying to stay involved in Peruvian politics while in Japanese exile, flew to Chile on a private jet. On arrival, he was arrested and Peru demanded his extradition. Chile ended up granting it in September 2007.
  
Fujimori's daughter Keiko enjoys her own political career in Peru, and remains deeply loyal to him. She has said she is considering running for president in 2011 and that, if she wins, she would pardon her father.
  
Earlier this week, Fujimori pled guilty to bribing lawmakers and spying on former rivals for the presidency and others while in power, though he long insisted all charges against him were politically motivated fabrications of his enemies.
  
Many analysts believe that Fujimori, in admitting corruption, sought to avoid an onslaught of damaging testimony that could hurt Keiko's chances in the 2011 presidential election.
  
Opponents of Fujimori were frustrated that his confession to corruption charges meant there was no trial to shed light on wrongdoing.
  
But Fujimori loyalist Carlos Raffo warned "his followers will strike back with a political trial."
  
Independent political analyst Eduardo Toche, a sociologist, said "Fujimori thinks he has political capital" and believes that if he had gone to trial on these corruption charges, "things could have been messed up for a lot of people" in the legislature.
  

Date created : 2009-09-30

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