Former Peruvian president gets 25 years in jail

April 8th, 2009 - 1:13 am ICT by IANS  

Lima, April 7 (DPA) Alberto Fujimori, a former president of Peru, was Tuesday found guilty and sentenced to 25 years in jail for human rights abuses and crimes against humanity, including ordering the killing of 25 people.
In a historic ruling, the Peruvian court convicted the former democratically elected president, who fled his own country while still in office, for abuses committed during his presidency.

Fujimori, 70, immediately announced he would appeal the sentence. Earlier he sat in the courtroom and calmly followed the reading of the judgement by chief judge Cesar San Martin.

But outside the courtroom, which was located in a heavily guarded police barracks, there was pushing and shoving between his supporters and opponents who awaited the ruling.

Fujimori’s fans have threatened massive street protests in the event he was found guilty.

Judge San Martin continued reading the judgement, saying that the charges against Fujimori had been proven. Prosecutors had asked for a 30-year sentence.

The specific charges centred on his ordering the killing of 25 people in two massacres at La Cantuta and Barrios Altos and two kidnappings in 1991 and 1992. Fujimori was found guilty in absentia on a separate set of charges and sentenced to six years in jail.

Fujimori ruled Peru from 1990-2000 before fleeing massive corruption and human rights abuse charges. He faxed his resignation back to Peru from Japan, which gave him refuge because he had Japanese ancestors.

He returned to the region saying he would seek re-election, but was arrested by Chilean officials who then extradited him to Peru in 2007.

The former president has stressed that he is innocent and recounted the difficult context in which he governed the South American country as he fought an internal terrorist threat.

“I know that I am innocent, and I know I have the majority support of the people,” he said recently.

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