Chilean court OKs extradition of Peruvian ex-leader Fujimori

first_imgSANTIAGO, Chile – Chile’s Supreme Court on Friday approved the extradition of Peru’s former president, Alberto K. Fujimori, on charges of human rights abuses and corruption during his time in power in the 1990s. The ruling, which cannot be appealed, may have broader influence, legal experts said. In Latin America and elsewhere, former heads of state have normally been able to avoid extradition, even between countries with treaties, or they have been sent for trial before special tribunals, usually after political negotiations between governments. The very fact that Chile’s judiciary seriously reviewed the case at the request of Peruvian prosecutors was exceptional, and the judges then treated Fujimori, Peru’s president from 1990 to 2000, like any ordinary citizen, handling his case in its own courts. After the ruling, Fujimori, 69, continued under house arrest in a mansion in this capital city, where he has been since June while awaiting a ruling on the extradition request. He arrived here in 2005, en route from exile in Japan back to Peru, where he had wanted to return to power. Fujimori faced a return home on Friday under very different circumstances than he had hoped. The prospect of his trial and imprisonment in Peru seems certain not only to undo those ambitions, but also to introduce a polarizing and potentially destabilizing figure back into Peru’s politics. “For me this is an opportunity to return,” Fujimori said in comments on Friday on Peruvian radio, “because my objective is to reunite with the people.” “I’m physically and emotionally prepared to deal with this situation,” he said. Fujimori has retained a loyal following in Peru despite the revelations of abuse and generalized corruption in institutions controlled by him and his former spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos. Even today the government of President Alan Garcia relies on votes from pro-Fujimori lawmakers to approve legislation, and declarations from prison by Fujimori could alter Peru’s political landscape. “This is not the best scenario for Alan Garcia, since Fujimori will almost certainly make waves,” said Jose Ugaz, a Peruvian lawyer who was a special state attorney investigating Fujimori and Montesinos. “But it is a clear victory against corruption and impunity.” Peru’s comptroller general has estimated that Fujimori received $43.2 million to $59.4 million from the national intelligence service from 1992 to 2000, and he is accused of arranging the transfer of $15 million in state funds to Montesinos shortly before the collapse of his government. In addition, Fujimori is accused of human rights abuses related to the activities of the Colina Group, a secretive squad of military intelligence officers believed to have carried out more than two dozen extrajudicial killings in the early 1990s. The squad carried out killings in which 25 people died in 1991 and 1992.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more