Peru's ex-president goes on trial

Fujimori accused of complicity in murders carried out by an army death squad.

    Supporters of Fujimori gathered outside the court at
    a police base on the outskirts of Lima[AFP]
    Cesar Nakazaki, Fujimori's lawyer, said that he would be show the former president was innocent of "the policies he implemented against the  terrorism he was confronted with in the years 1991 and 1992".

    Human rights allegations

    He is accused of human rights violations related to the killings of 15 people by security forces at a party in Lima in 1991 and the deaths of nine students and a professor in 1992.

    In depth

    Fujimori trial divides Peru

    Profile: Alberto Fujimori

    A truth and reconciliation commission later found that none of the victims were connected to the Shining Path, which had carried out an armed campaign against the government.

    Fujimori also faces charges over the kidnapping and detention of a journalist and businessman critical of his regime.

    The trial will seek to determine whether he ordered or knew about the crimes, as alleged by Santiago Martin Rivas, a former operations  chief of the La Colina death squad.

    The 69-year-old denies any involvement in any of the killings and on Monday angrily protested his innocence.

    "If there were horrible things done, it was not on my order and I condemn them"

    Alberto Fujimori, former Peruvian president

    "I declare myself innocent," he said in court. "I don't accept the charges against me ... I never ordered the death of anybody."

    Fujimori also defended his decade in office, saying he had turned around a country "that was virtually collapsing".
    "My government defended the human rights of 25 million Peruvians, without a single exception," he said. "If there were horrible things done, it was not on my order and I condemn them."

    The prosecution has called for a 30-year jail sentence and the payment of more than $33 million in damages.
    It is the first time in Peru's history that a former president has faced a public trial for crimes committed during his administration.

    Corruption claims

    In later trials, Fujimori is expected to face allegations that he illegally used $15 million in state money to pay Vladimiro Montesinos, his intelligence chief, to resign.
    He is also accused of authorised bribes to congressmen and illegal phone taps, and that he secretly bought a TV station for political propaganda with state money.

    Fujimori initially received widespread support for his crackdown on the rebels and his economic reforms, which ended hyperinflation inherited from the previous government and spurred record foreign investment.

    But his government became increasingly authoritarian, intimidating the media, human rights groups and political parties.
    In November 2000, Fujimori, fled to Japan amid a bribery scandal that forced him from power.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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