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Chile: Don’t Let Fujimori Flee From Justice

Chile: Don’t Let Fujimori Flee From Justice

Peru’s Ex-President Must Face Extradition

(New York) – Chile must minimize the risk that former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori will flee Chile to avoid his extradition to Peru on charges of corruption and human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch said today.

Yesterday Fujimori was released from the center where he had been detained for the last six months, after a panel of the Chilean Supreme Court decided to grant him pre-trial release for the remainder of the extradition proceedings. The court also ruled that Fujimori is barred from leaving Chile pending a final decision on Peru’s extradition requests. However, Human Rights Watch expressed concern that once he is no longer in custody, Fujimori will attempt to evade a return to Peru.

“Fujimori has a record of evading justice by fleeing to other countries,” said Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas director for Human Rights Watch. “Chile must take effective measures to keep Fujimori there until the court rules on his extradition.”

The ruling by a panel of court members overturned an earlier decision by the judge reviewing Peru’s extradition request, who had denied earlier requests for pretrial release. Fujimori was released subject to payment of U.S.$2,868 in bail and monthly appearances at his former detention center.

Fujimori arrived in Chile on November 6, 2005. He left Peru in the midst of a major corruption scandal in late 2000, while still president, and fled to Japan. From there he resigned the presidency by fax, and later avoided being brought to trial in Peru by staying in Japan, where he claimed Japanese citizenship.

After his unexpected arrival in Chile, Peruvian authorities presented numerous formal requests for Fujimori’s extradition. Among other crimes, Fujimori is charged with responsibility for the massacres of Barrios Altos and La Cantuta, killings of 25 people carried out by a death squad in 1991 and 1992. He is also charged with ordering widespread phone-tapping, bribing congressmen, and diverting millions of dollars in state funds for personal enrichment and a variety of other illegal purposes.

“Fujimori is finally facing a real possibility of extradition to Peru, so he has powerful motives to try to get away and the resources to do it,” said Vivanco. “It is vital the Chilean authorities ensure he cannot abuse his conditional release to escape justice.”

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