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  • Fujimori finally gets his–extradition to Peru

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on September 23rd, 2007

    Hi Blog. Good news. A wanted former dictator, er, president of Peru finally gets his.

    The saga so far: After buggering off to Japan in 2000, resigning his office, claiming Japanese nationalty (in fact, using it as a cloak against extradition), then swanning off back to Chile in 2005 to try and contest a Peruvian election, then trying even to get elected in Japan last July, Alberto Fujimori, in my view a megalomaniac in the mold of Napoleon and Mexico’s Santa Anna (both of whom kept popping up after exile trying to restore themselves back to power; Fujimori has clearly been less successful than they), has finally been ruled an undesirable (“on human rights and corruption charges”) by Chile’s Supreme Court. He was extradited to Peru yesteday.

    More background on Fujimori why he matters to Debito.org here.

    About bloody time. Give him his day in court. Let’s see what the trial brings out.

    Here’s the AP’s view. Debito in Sapporo

    ////////////////////////////////////////
    Fujimori returns to Peru to face trial
    AP correspondent Monte Hayes reports Alberto Fujimori still has strong support in Peru.

    By MONTE HAYES
    Associated Press Writer
    Courtesy Daily Yomiuri Sep 23, 1:15 AM EDT
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/F/FUJIMORI_ASOL-?SITE=YOMIURI&SECTION=HOSTED_ASIA&TEMPLATE=ap_world.html

    LIMA, Peru (AP) — Former President Alberto Fujimori returned to Peru on Saturday to face charges of corruption and sanctioning death-squad killings, a grim homecoming for the strongman who fled the country seven years ago as his government collapsed in scandal.

    The plane carrying the 69-year-old former ruler landed in a heavy mist at Lima’s Las Palmas air force base, a day after Chile’s Supreme Court authorized his extradition. He was then flown by helicopter to a police base, where he is to be held until a permanent facility is prepared for his detention.

    Some 700 supporters who gathered outside the police air terminal across town to greet him were frustated when his plane was diverted to the air base.

    “We have come to welcome Fujimori, to tell him that we are with him and will accompany him wherever he goes so that he feels he has the support of his people,” his daughter Keiko Fujimori, who was elected to Congress in 2006, told The Associated Press.

    Fujimori’s extradition from Chile has provoked reactions ranging from elation to indignation.

    Some Peruvians believe he should be tried for his controversial crackdown on the bloody Shining Path insurgency and alleged corruption during his 1990-2000 presidency.

    But Fujimori maintains a following in Peru. A recent poll showed that 23 percent of Peruvians want to see him back in politics and some worry his return could provoke turmoil in a country emerging from decades of political and economic chaos.

    “There will be a sector of the country that will identify with him, and he will play a destabilizing opposition role,” said congressman Javier Valle Riestra, a leader of President Alan Garcia’s Aprista party.

    Fujimori was widely admired for ushering in economic stability and defeating the Shining Path rebel movement during his 1990-2000 government, but his presidency increasingly came under fire as it drifted toward authoritarianism and evidence surfaced of corruption.

    He was flying to Peru under police custody Saturday, a day after the Chilean Supreme Court ordered his extradition on human rights and corruption charges.

    Fujimori’s followers and foes alike were stunned in November 2005, when he landed in a small plane in Chile and revealed his ambition to run for president in the 2006 elections, even though Peru’s Congress had banned him from seeking public office until 2011. He was promptly arrested.

    Fujimori had earned a reputation as a cool-headed strategist in handling multiple crises as president. But he may have miscalculated when he decided to leave his safe refuge in Japan, where he enjoyed immunity from extradition because of his Japanese nationality, inherited from his migrant parents.

    It “will be interesting to see how Houdini gets out of this one,” said Michael Shifter, a Latin America analyst at the Inter-American Dialogue think tank in Washington.

    Peru wants to try Fujimori on corruption and human rights charges, including sanctioning the death-squad killings of 25 people.

    Fujimori, who calls the charges politically motivated, said on the eve of his departure that while his government made mistakes, he has a clear conscience.

    “This does not mean that I’ve been tried, much less convicted. … I hope that in Peru there exists the due process to clarify the accusations against me,” he told the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio.

    He noted that while the Chilean Supreme Court authorized his extradition, it significantly reduced the charges for which he can be tried in Peru. According to the extradition treaty between the two countries, he can only be tried on the charges for which the extradition was approved.

    Fujimori also suggested that he’s eyeing a political comeback, saying, “I still have majority support from a very popular political current.

    “I assure you that there will be a political heir if I am no longer around,” he added. “There will be a Fujimori movement for a long time. I guarantee that there will be some Fujimori in the next presidential race.”

    He said his daughter Keiko, who was elected to Congress last year with 600,000 votes, far more than any other legislator, has “what it takes” to be president.

    On Friday, Keiko, 32, who is six months pregnant with her first child, demanded that he not be mistreated while in custody and urged supporters to greet him at the airport.

    “Fujimori was the one who brought peace to this country, who defeated terrorism, and it seems a paradox that today Fujimori is being tried for human rights,” she said.

    The Fujimori-allied Congressman Rolando Souza predicted that if the former leader does not receive a fair trial and is sentenced to a long prison term, indignation among his supporters would propel his daughter into the presidency in 2011.

    “I’m completely sure of it,” he said.

    Peruvian prosecutors are seeking 30 years in prison for each human rights charge, and up to 10 years for the corruption charges. But prison terms run concurrently under Peruvian law.

    Some Peruvians say Fujimori’s controversial crackdown on the bloody Shining Path insurgency was justified.

    “Maybe it’s a crime now, but there was a war going on then,” said Miguel Capac, 40, a civil engineer who voted for Fujimori. “And in a war it’s hard to say who is guilty and who is innocent.”

    But for others, his administration’s alleged crimes outweigh its successes.

    “He has done good things. No one denies that. But that doesn’t allow him to get away with the acts of corruption he committed,” said Maria Huaman, a 35-year-old architect.

    Many believe Garcia did not want Fujimori extradited, fearing he could become a powerful opposition leader. Garcia’s political opposition is fragmented, giving him a free hand to rule, and he maintains a fragile control of the 120-seat Congress with the backing of 13 legislators allied to Fujimori.

    Larry Birns, director of the Washington think tank Council on Hemispheric Affairs, said the trial also could prove embarrassing for Garcia. He said human rights violations were even greater during Garcia’s first term in 1985-1990 than in Fujimori’s administration, “and I think Fujimori is going to use that as his defense.”

    The trial “will open up not one but many cans of worms because corruption in Peru was endemic at that time,” Birns said.


    ENDS

    3 Responses to “Fujimori finally gets his–extradition to Peru”

    1. debito Says:

      FEEDBACK FROM CYBERSPACE. DEBITO

      Good news against dictatorships everywhere, and exiled dictators everywhere –
      prior to this only Hissein Habre of Chad in Senegal, Taylor, and Chile’s own Pinochet
      were subject to this kind of treatment. The more there are, the more that systems
      to deal with then will be established and strengthened.

      Not having a safe exile, while sometimes can exacerbate a problem (who would flee
      if there’s no safe place to flee to, better to dig in one’s heels and kick more heads),
      but on the other side it might make dictators think twice before STARTING to kick
      heads. (“I don’t want to end up in the dock at the Hague one day…”)

      This is an EXCELLENT trend.

      It reflects well on Chile for extraditing him – a country already worthy of our
      respect for a variety of other reasons.

      AND…finally… it reflects TERRIBLY on the part of the Japanese Foreign/Justice Ministry
      and minority population who gave him shelter. Being of the same race or citizenship should NEVER trump real justice.

    2. debito Says:

      http://www.voanews.com/english/2007-09-22-voa10.cfm

      Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori is now being extradited from Chile to Peru to face charges of corruption and human rights abuse.

      The 69-year-old former president was flown out of Chile to Peru Saturday morning.

      Chile’s Supreme Court ruled Friday that he must be sent back to Peru, saying it had agreed to seven of the 13 charges filed by Peruvian prosecutors against him.

      Prosecutors in Peru accuse Mr. Fujimori of corruption and sanctioning the killing of 25 people by paramilitary squads during his decade-long presidency, which ended in 2000. He has denied the charges.

      The former president has not been back to Peru since the collapse of his government. He spent five years in exile in his ancestral homeland of Japan, then moved in 2005 to Chile, where he was arrested.

      He has spent the last two years fighting extradition.

      Human rights groups have hailed the decision to extradite Mr. Fujimori so he can face the charges against him.
      End

    3. debito Says:

      A GOOD ROUNDUP OF THE ISSUES FROM THE ECONOMIST (WITH VERY LITTLE REGARDING HIS QUESTIONABLE STATUS IN JAPAN; JAPAN’S RESPONSIBILITY IN ALL THIS SEEMS TO BE SWIFTLY BEING FORGOTTEN BY THE MEDIA). DEBITO

      Fugitive returned
      A landmark extradition sees Alberto Fujimori facing justice

      Sep 27th 2007 | LIMA, Peru
      From The Economist print edition
      http://www.economist.com/world/la/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9867439
      Reuters

      Get article background at
      http://www.economist.com/background/displayBackground.cfm?story_id=9867439

      FOR much of his decade as president between 1990 and 2000, Peruvians saw Alberto Fujimori as a saviour. He conquered the hyperinflation bequeathed by his predecessor, Alan García, and restored growth. With Vladimiro Montesinos, his shadowy intelligence chief, he crushed the Maoist terrorists of the Shining Path and locked up their leader, Abimael Guzmán. Now the saviour has joined Messrs Montesinos and Guzmán behind bars.

      There was always a dark side to Mr Fujimori. Though twice freely elected, he shut down his country’s Congress in 1992 and used other strong-arm methods. He fled to Japan in 2000 after trying fraudulently to win a third, unconstitutional term. In November 2005 he flew to Chile, in an apparent bid to slip back into Peru and rally his supporters for last year’s presidential election. There he was arrested at the Peruvian government’s request.

      In a decision hailed by human-rights campaigners, Chile’s Supreme Court ruled on September 21st that Mr Fujimori should be extradited to Peru to face seven sets of charges. These include complicity in the actions of the Colina Group, an army death squad that killed 25 civilians in two separate incidents (one of them involved the slaughter of those attending a barbecue which the intelligence service believed was to raise funds for Shining Path). Most of the charges relate to corruption: the most sinister feature of Mr Fujimori’s rule was the unlimited power granted to Mr Montesinos to bribe and extort on a scale that prosecutors say topped $1 billion.

      Mr Fujimori claims not to have known the doings of his spy chief. But Mr Montesinos, who has already been found guilty on several charges and is serving a 20-year jail sentence, will be a key figure in his trials. Mr Montesinos and several members of the army are still being tried for the actions of the Colina group.

      The Fujimori case had the potential to strain Peru’s relations with Chile, which while much improved are easily inflamed by hurt from defeat in 19th-century wars. But Chile’s Supreme Court stuck to the letter of the country’s law. In approving extradition while rejecting six of the charges, it mainly based itself on Chile’s own penal code rather than on international norms.

      Nevertheless, some lawyers see the verdict as a wider turning point. The court followed the ruling of Britain’s House of Lords in the case of Chile’s former dictator, Augusto Pinochet, in dismissing defence arguments that Mr Fujimori, as a former head of state, enjoyed immunity from criminal prosecution.

      José Miguel Vivanco of Human Rights Watch, a New York-based group, points out that the Fujimori case marks the first time that a court has extradited a former head of state for trial in his own country, rather than by an international tribunal. In doing so, Chile’s Supreme Court, one of the more formalistic and conservative in Latin America, has up-ended the region’s long tradition of granting political asylum to former rulers. Under that tradition, Panama shelters several disgraced presidents, including Haiti’s Raoul Cédras.

      Another former Haitian dictator, Jean-Claude Duvalier, this week asked forgiveness of his country. Mr Duvalier, in exile in France since 1986, is believed to want to return home after running out of money. But the country’s president, René Préval, said his government would press ahead with efforts to recover money he believed was stolen during Mr Duvalier’s rule.

      Mr Fujimori’s case will be a test for Peru’s judges and for Mr García who, in an irony of history, is again its president. The judiciary was undermined when Mr Fujimori appointed pliant judges in the 1990s. It has since taken steps towards greater professionalism. The defendant enjoys certain privileges: as a former head of state, he will be tried by the Supreme Court, and under international law he can be tried only for those matters on which the Chilean judges approved his extradition.

      In 1992 Mr García himself sought asylum in Colombia, fearing corruption charges from Mr Fujimori (they were eventually dropped). Since winning last year’s election, having campaigned as a free-marketeer, he has relied for a legislative majority on the backing of Mr Fujimori’s supporters. They are now led by Mr Fujimori’s daughter, Keiko, who won 603,000 votes in Lima, three times more than any other congressional candidate.

      That alliance is now under strain. Mr Fujimori is being held at a police base, rather than under house arrest as he hoped. Mr García says his former adversary’s fate should be decided strictly according to the law. Ms Fujimori, who is likely to run for the presidency in 2011, calls her father the victim of a vendetta.

      In trying to return to Peru, Mr Fujimori seemed to hope that he would again be greeted as a saviour. But Peru has moved on: in polls, a majority say they would never vote for him. Ms Fujimori has some of her father’s political talents, and Peru’s politics is notoriously unpredictable. But rather than the return to the presidential palace he dreamed of, it may be Mr Fujimori’s fate to join Mr Montesinos and Mr Guzmán in the high-security jail he himself ordered built in a naval fortress.
      ENDS

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