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  • Peru’s Fujimori really really gets his: 25 years jail for death squads

    Posted by arudou debito on April 9th, 2009

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    Hi Blog. In my humble but loud opinion, good news:

    Former Peruvian Prez Alberto Fujimori, who ran a corrupt government, parachuted into Japan for sanctuary in 2000 (getting a Japanese passport without due process), lived the life of a Tokyo elite with full impunity (despite extradition demands and an Interpol warrant for kidnapping and murder), bogged off back to Chile on private jet in 2005 to run for election in Peru (not to mention run for election here in Japan; the fool lost in both places).  Then the fool was arrested upon landing and later extradited back to Peru for trial.  Yesterday he finally got his:  A jail sentence for a quarter-century for executive excesses.  As in death squads. In complement to the six years he got in December 2007 for lesser charges.

    Good. Rot there, you dreadful man.

    Debito.org has said time and again why I have it in for this creep.  It’s not just because he leapfrogged genuine candidates for Japanese citizenship (claiming it by blood and spoils within weeks of faxing a resignation letter to Peru, from a Tokyo hotel!). It’s because a person like this could spoil it for every other Nikkei in South America. What other country would want to elect another possible Fujimori after all this?   Sorry, as wrongfully racist as that sentiment is, clear criminal activity is not going to help the assimilation and social advancement of others like him.  That man is quite simply a destroyer of anything that gets in his way.

    But Fujimori, like many leaders in Latin American countries (think Simon Bolivar, Santa Anna, the Perons, or Porfirio Diaz), seems to have nine lives. And his elected daughter is jockeying to become president and pardon him. (Chip off the old block. Now that’s an important national priority and a key campaign plank! Kinda like another president invading Iraq to avenge his father…)

    BTW, I saw on the Discovery Channel on Tuesday night a Canadian documentary about the siege of the Japanese Ambassador to Peru’s house in 1996-7. When the commandos were on tiptoe for 34 hours ready to go in, deputy Montesinos was trying to contact Fujimori to get final approval. Guess what. It took a while to reach him, because he was dealing with personal stuff — his divorce hearing! One would think a looming assault on your biggest national donor’s sovereign territory would take ultrapriority for a president.  Not a president like FJ.

    Ecch. Again, what a dreadful man. Stay tuned. Arudou Debito in Sapporo

    —————————

    Peru’s Fujimori gets 25 years for death squad

    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20090408p2g00m0in001000c.html

    April 8, 2009. Courtesy lots of people.

    LIMA, Peru (AP) — Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in prison Tuesday for death squad killings and kidnappings during his 1990s struggle against Shining Path insurgents.

    Outside court, pro- and anti-Fujimori activists fought with fists, sticks and rocks. About 50 people chanted “Fujimori killer!” while several hundred chanted “Fujimori innocent!” before riot police separated them.

    The court convicted the 70-year-old former leader, who was widely credited for rescuing Peru from the brink of economic and political collapse, of “crimes against humanity” including two operations by the military hit squad that claimed 25 lives. None of the victims, the three-judge court found, were connected to any insurgency.

    Presiding judge Cesar San Martin said there was no question Fujimori authorized the creation of the Colina unit, which the court said killed at least 50 people as the government battled Shining Path terror with a “parallel terror apparatus” of its own. He sentenced Fujimori to 25 years in prison, only five fewer than the maximum.

    Victims’ family members nodded with satisfaction and shed tears in the courtroom as the verdict was read.

    “For the first time, the memory of our relatives is dignified in a ruling that says none of the victims was linked to any terrorist group,” said Gisela Ortiz, whose brother was killed.

    Fujimori, who proclaimed his innocence in a roar when the 15-month televised trial began, barely looked up, uttering only four words — “I move to nullify” — before turning, waving to his children, and walking out of the courtroom at the Lima police base where he has been held and tried since his 2007 extradition from Chile.

    His supporters in the courtroom shook their heads in disgust and groaned in exasperation. Fujimori’s congresswoman daughter, Keiko, called the conviction foreordained and “full of hate and vengeance.” She said it would only strengthen her candidacy for the 2011 presidential race.

    “Fujimorism will continue to advance. Today we’re first in the polls and will continue to be so,” she said outside the courtroom. She has vowed to pardon her father if elected.

    But some political analysts think Keiko Fujimori, 33, is more likely weakened by the verdict and would become a one-issue candidate. Her party has, after all, just 13 seats in Peru’s 120-member congress.

    “It’s one thing to capitalize on the romantic image of the daughter defending a presumably innocent father, another defending a sentenced criminal,” said Nelson Manrique, a Catholic University professor.

    Human rights activists heralded the case as the first in which a democratically elected former president was extradited and tried in his home country for rights violations.

    Although none of the trial’s 80 witnesses directly accused Fujimori of ordering killings, kidnappings or disappearances, the court said the former mathematics professor and son of Japanese immigrants bore responsibility by allowing the Colina group to be formed.

    It said Fujimori’s disgraced intelligence chief and close confidant, Vladimiro Montesinos, was in direct control of the unit.

    And it noted that Fujimori freed jailed Colina members with a blanket 1995 amnesty for soldiers while state security agencies engaged in a “very complete and extensive” cover-up of the group’s deeds.

    The Colina group was formed in 1991. In its first raid, using silencer-equipped machine guns, the group killed 15 people at a barbecue, including an 8-year-old boy. The intended victims, it turned out, lived on a different floor. The following year, the group “disappeared” nine students and a leftist professor at La Cantuta University.

    In both cases, the killers targeted alleged sympathizers of the Shining Path, which was killing Peruvians with nearly daily car bombings. The group was devastated by the September 1992 arrest of its charismatic leader, Abimael Guzman, but some 500 Shining Path remnants remain active in Peru’s jungle, financed by the cocaine trade.

    Fujimori also was convicted of two 1992 kidnappings: the 10-day abduction of opposition businessman Samuel Dyer and the one-day kidnapping of Gustavo Gorriti, a journalist who had criticized the president’s shuttering of the opposition-led Congress and courts.

    In the trial, prosecutors presented declassified cables showing that U.S. diplomats including then-Ambassador Anthony Quainton repeatedly questioned Fujimori and his aides about reports of extrajudicial killings by his military.

    “He never wanted to talk about it very much. He always, of course, said that human rights abuses were not tolerated by his government,” Quainton, now an American University professor, told The Associated Press by phone from Washington.

    Fujimori has already been sentenced to six years in prison for abuse of power and faces two corruption trials, the first set to begin in May, on charges including bribing lawmakers and paying off a TV station.

    His 10-year presidency ended in disgrace in 2000, when videotapes showed Montesinos, now serving a 20-year term for corruption and gunrunning, bribing lawmakers and businessmen. Fujimori fled to Japan, then attempted a return five years later via Chile.

    Fujimori remains remarkably popular and his successors have maintained his market-friendly policies. Peru had Latin America’s strongest economic growth from 2002-2008, averaging 6.7 percent. A November poll found two-thirds of Peruvians approve of Fujimori’s rule.

    In his final appeal Friday, Fujimori cast himself as a victim of political persecution, saying the charges against him reflect a double standard. Why, he asked, isn’t current President Alan Garcia also being prosecuted, since it was from Garcia, who also preceded him in office, that Fujimori inherited the messy conflict that would claim 70,000 lives.

    Garcia denies responsibility for human rights abuses during his 1985-90 administration — and has the power to pardon Fujimori.

    Human rights advocates called the verdict historic.

    “What this verdict says is that these crimes did in fact happen and that Fujimori was in fact responsible for them, and that’s something Peruvians needed to hear,” said Maria McFarland, senior Americas researcher at Human Rights Watch, who was in the courtroom.

    “For so many years, certain sectors in Peru have said that you have to look the other way and refused to acknowledge what happened.”

    (Mainichi Japan) April 8, 2009

    ENDS

    12 Responses to “Peru’s Fujimori really really gets his: 25 years jail for death squads”

    1. Pepipox Says:

      Hello DEbito
      I”ve read rumors that one of the reasons Fujimori left the safe heaven of Japan for Chile was because, since Japan refused to extradite him, Peru was going to sue Japan in the Hague court, with of course, very high odds of winning. As a result, Fujimori became somewhat of an too heavy drag, and also, most of his powerful connections where politicians from the mid 90s, mostly gone or retired. What do you think? why else he left Japan, knowing that he was a wanted man by Interpol?

      – Interesting rumor. First I’ve heard. No evidence either way. Not impossible, and it slots neatly into a lot of “mysterious motive” nodes. But one of his main contacts, Tokyo Gov Ishihara, is still going strong. And if he was so weak political cloutwise in Japan, it’s surprising he was able to run for election….

    2. HO Says:

      I though you are for double nationality.
      He is a Peruvian citizen because he was born in Peru as well as a Japanese citizen because both of his parents are Japanese citizens. He did not get Japanese citizenship after he resigned President. He has been a Japanese citizen ever since he was born.

      I am not so sure about the fairness of the trial. The government and the court are controlled by his political enemies anyway. His charges are abetting fighting against terrorists. I am sure you would agree to indict President Bush in Iraqi court for the same charges when the occupation there ends.

    3. aw Says:

      Ho,

      We are for dual nat-what we are against is different laws for well connected nikkei so that they can have dual nationality (and incredibly run for the diet) whereas the rest of us cant..
      also regarding your comments on fujimori,im very surprised since you are usually such a stickler for the law that what you say completely contradicts the laws of both countries..

      the facts:fujimori born in peru
      fujimoris parents apply for japanese citizenship for him 1938.
      imperial decree in place stating that japanese citizens taking foreign citizenship forfeit japanese citizenship.
      this law replaced after war by current law which states that japanese have to declare for japanese citizenship on reaching adult age(he never did this)
      under peruvian law (from 1933 to1993) only those holding latin american or spanish passports allowed dual nationality.therefore he was a president illegaly.

      fast forward- into the 2000s, fujimoris ex wife says she never knew he had j cit..
      japanese gov asks peru to clarify if fujimori has peruvian cit!!!(is this a joke ,he was president for 10yrs)
      man himself says his parents registered him with japanese consulate when was a baby ,but doesnt know if this qualifies him ‘not me to decide’
      also declares he will keep his peruvian cit to fight in 2006 election

      without even getting into the other stuff,he has broken the natlaws of 2 countries – but still he kept his japanese citizenship-how is this possible??

    4. aw Says:

      furthermore-i dont understand your bush analogy.
      quite apart from ignoring the mass sterilizations,death squads,corruption ,tax evasion etc etc..
      why is fujimori being tried in a peruvian court equivalent to bush being indicted in an iraqi court??
      if youd said american court i could have understood,but iraqi??

      are you trying to say fujimori is not and never was peruvian??
      that he invaded and occupied peru ?

    5. jim Says:

      again just another example of the double standards in japan. because i wonder why this clown fujimori was allowed to keep his japanese citizen even though he already had citizenship in peru? Debito could you please answer this million dollar question for me…

    6. HO Says:

      Aw: fujimoris parents apply for japanese citizenship for him 1938.

      His parents “retained” his Japanese citizenship in 1938 when he was born, by reporting his birth at the Japanese consulate.

      Aw: this law replaced after war by current law which states that japanese have to declare for japanese citizenship on reaching adult age(he never did this)

      That provision was put into place on January 1, 1985. But the annex article 3 of the law says, those who have dual citizenship before January 1, 1985 do not need to declare for Japanese citizenship to retain it.

      I do not support him having run for Peruvian presidency hiding the fact that he has Japanese citizenship. But what I want to say here is that he does have Japanese citizenship.

      Aw: if youd said american court i could have understood,but iraqi??

      A criminal is tried where the crime is committed. If President Bush were to be tried, it would be in Iraq. But how many Americans think Iraqi court is a fair forum? Likewise, how many people think the present Peruvian court is fair to Fujimori?

      – Your evidence for it being unfair?

    7. aw Says:

      HO,

      Sorry but what you say is incorrect.
      even if we leave aside the fact that he held dual nat contrary to japan laws(a huge jump to make),

      if he was a japanese citizen,then he was breaking all perus laws on dual nationality.
      furthermore,he was president of a foreign country which again means he should lose his japanese citizenship.
      then we have the issue of a dual national running for the japanese diet.

      basically its a case of one rule for connected people ,and a different rule for the rest.

      like debito,interested in what your evidence for the trial being unfair was.just because you dont agree he should be punished for what he did,doesnt make it unfair.

    8. HO Says:

      Debito,
      “Although none of the trial’s 80 witnesses directly accused Fujimori of ordering killings, kidnappings or disappearances, the court said the former mathematics professor and son of Japanese immigrants bore responsibility by allowing the Colina group to be formed.”
      The above part makes me doubt the fairness of the court. I do not go so much as to say, “it is unfair”, but I just doubt it.

      Aw,
      There is no law that prevents a double national from running for a public office in Japan, as long as s/he has Japanese citizenship. Being a head of a foreign country does not automatically deprive the person of Japanese citizenship, although justice minister of Japan may choose to repeal it if s/he sees allowing Japanese citizenship is inappropriate. I do not think such undiplomatic thing will ever happen, though.

      I do not know if he is breaking Peruvian laws or not regarding nationality, but if he is, why is he not accused of that wrongdoing in Peruvian court?

    9. debito Says:

      REGARDING THE CLAIM THAT THE TRIAL IS UNFAIR, THE ECONOMIST WEIGHS IN…

      The trial of Alberto Fujimori
      An elected strongman brought to book
      Apr 8th 2009 | LIMA
      From The Economist print edition
      http://www.economist.com/world/americas/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13446870

      A victory for the rule of law

      HE WAS widely credited with having saved his country from economic collapse and a murderous guerrilla insurgency. But for Alberto Fujimori, Peru’s president from 1990 to 2000, the end always justified the often-authoritarian means. On April 7th he became the first elected Latin American president to be found guilty of human-rights abuses by a court sitting in his own country.

      After a televised trial lasting 16 months, three judges unanimously found that Mr Fujimori had known about and authorised the activities of an army death-squad, known as the Colina group, which killed 15 people attending a barbecue at a house in Lima in 1991 and kidnapped and murdered ten people from a teacher-training college the following year. These killings occurred as the army was battling the Shining Path Maoist terrorist group. His knowledge of the death squad made him the “indirect perpetrator” of these killings, the court ruled. He was also found guilty of two brief kidnappings of opponents by intelligence agents. The court sentenced him to 25 years imprisonment. He immediately appealed against the verdict.

      Mr Fujimori was extradited in 2007 from Chile, where he had flown from voluntary exile in Japan in the hope of launching a political comeback. He is already serving a six-year sentence on charges of abuse of power. He faces three further trials, one for misuse of public funds.

      In a lengthy address to the court this month he accused his prosecutors of failing to “distinguish between hate and evidence”. But human-rights groups said that the trial had been fairly conducted. “This trial has shown that the law is the same for everyone, including ex-presidents,” said Avelino Guillén, the prosecutor.

      For most of his decade in office Mr Fujimori was hugely popular among Peruvians. Previously a little-known university rector, he won a presidential election in 1990, defeating Mario Vargas Llosa, Peru’s best-known novelist. He tamed hyperinflation, opened up the economy and launched two decades of rapid economic growth. With the help of the population, the Shining Path was crushed. When a smaller guerrilla group kidnapped 72 people attending a reception at the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Lima in 1996, he organised a dramatic rescue after a four-month siege.

      His methods were often heavy-handed. In 1992 he used troops to shut down the Congress and the courts. His intelligence chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, who is serving a 20-year jail sentence, systematically bribed potential opponents. Mr Fujimori’s regime collapsed after he illegally sought a third term, winning a rigged election in 2000. Investigators found that more than $1 billion was stolen from public funds and stashed in secret accounts during his rule.

      In finding him guilty, the court rejected his claims that he was ignorant of the crimes of Mr Montesinos and of his army chief, General Nicolás Hermoza (who is also in jail). Mr Fujimori complained of a double standard, noting that more people were killed under his predecessor, Alan García, who is Peru’s current president.

      As his misdeeds have been revealed, Mr Fujimori has lost public support. Polls have found that around 70% of those asked thought he was guilty. But his daughter, Keiko, is one of several contenders for the 2011 presidential election. She says that if elected she would pardon him.

      Democracy has often struggled in Peru, and the country has suffered from the patchy application of the rule of law. Despite his achievements, Mr Fujimori exacerbated these flaws. Peruvians must hope that the court’s verdict marks a lasting triumph for the law.
      ENDS

    10. Maria Says:

      I thought that what Fujimori’s parents did was something like reserving the right to claim citizenship…and that this law was later changed. So that he wasnt technically a Japanese citizen then but was able to easily become one when he ran away?

    11. debito Says:

      Ex-Peruvian president Fujimori’s mother dies at 96
      Kyodo: World › 14 March, 2009 23:07
      http://theblackship.com/news/categories/world/3228–Peruvian-president-Fujimoris-mother-dies.html

      RIO DE JANEIRO – Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori’s mother Mutsue died of heart failure Wednesday at a hospital in Tokyo, Peru’s state-run Andina news agency reported, quoting her family and parliamentary members. She was 96.

      Born in what is now the city of Kumamoto in 1913, Mutsue moved to Peru in 1934 with her husband Naoichi, who died in 1971. She engaged in cotton growing and other work, and raised three sons and two daughters, including her eldest son, who became the first Peruvian president of Japanese descent.

      Mutsue was among those at the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Lima in December 1996 when left-wing guerrillas seized it.

      But she was not recognized as the president’s mother and was released shortly after the hostage crisis broke out.

      Later on, she returned to Japan for medical treatment.

      Fujimori is now on trial for alleged human rights violations while he was in power.

      © 2009 Kyodo World News Service

    12. Manule Says:

      Fujimori was very much investigated on the matters of doubt of his nationality when he become a presidential candidate back in 1990, it seems that all proof of him being a japanese national (if any) were intentionally wiped out by the one that came to be his partner in the corruption enterprise of the peruvian government they lead, that is Mr. Montesinos, a shadowy figure with wide connections in the military and corrupt powers inside the judicial system. That means that there were no remaining proof (in Peru) that he ever held the japanese nationality prior to 1990, that would have invalidated his presidential candidacy then. Fujimori returned to Peru because he was ill-advised by his own polital group chief of campaign Mr. Raffo who make him believe that there was a strong people’s support for him to come and clean his name and even run again for presidency when the opposite was true. Otherwise in Japan he was protected by the hardest nationalists inside the government (LDP) including Mr. Ishihara and even his incidental “wife” Satomi Kataoka was more of a bodyguard and personal assistant than a friend.

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