Wed, Apr 01, 2009 - Page 7 News List

Fujimori’s defense lawyer points to Peruvian president

AP , LIMA

Former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori’s lawyer on Monday asked how a court could convict his client of murder and kidnapping if Peru’s current president was never charged for human rights abuses allegedly committed during his first term in office two decades ago.

“The same logic that served for not charging President [Alan] Garcia should serve to acquit Fujimori if this trial is legal and not political,” defense lawyer Cesar Nakazaki told the court on the final day of six weeks of closing arguments in the 15-month trial.

By broaching alleged abuses in Garcia’s first term, Nakazaki sought to tackle head-on the prosecution’s argument that Fujimori is guilty of failing to prevent crimes committed in the name of his 1990-2000 government, even if he has not been directly linked to them.

Miguel Jugo, director of Peru’s Pro-Human Rights Association, accused Nakazaki of attempting to play a “political” card by warning that Garcia could be the next to fall if Fujimori is convicted.

Fujimori, 70, is accused in the military death squad killings of 25 people in two early 1990s massacres and the kidnappings of a prominent businessman and a journalist when he sent troops to close Congress and the courts in 1992.

He faces up to 30 years in jail on the charges. He denies ordering a dirty war against Maoist Shining Path rebels who nearly brought the government to its knees in the late 1980s, but faded after the capture of its leader, Abimael Guzman, in 1992. Nearly 70,000 Peruvians died in the conflict.

But Peruvian prosecutors allege that Fujimori and his spymaster Vladimiro Montesinos created an “apparatus of power” that fought terror with terror.

No witness in the trial has directly tied Fujimori to the killings or kidnappings, though several of them had publicly made such accusations before the trial.

A verdict in the trial is expected around the middle of this month.

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