November 8, 2005

Chile’s Supreme Court denies bail for Fujimori

By Fiona Ortiz

SANTIAGO, Chile (Reuters) - Chile's Supreme Court denied
bail to former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori on Tuesday
as Peru worked to extradite him to face human rights and
corruption charges.

Fujimori was arrested on Monday after arriving in Santiago
on a surprise visit from Japan. He planned to use Chile as a
base to relaunch his political career and return to Peru to run
for president next year.

Peru has accused Fujimori, who was living as a fugitive in
Japan for five years, of corruption and human rights abuses
during his 1990-2000 rule.

Court spokesman Miguel Gonzalez told reporters that Supreme
Court Judge Orlando Alvarez rejected a petition filed on Monday
by Fujimori's lawyers to have him released on bail pending
extradition hearings.

Fujimori, 67, is being held in a school building that
belongs to Chile's prison authority. Chile's minimum security
prison burned down earlier this year.

In his ruling Alvarez cited Chile's extradition treaty with
Peru which gives Peru two months to file a formal request for
extradition, Gonzalez said.

Peru's attorney general Antonio Maldonado told National
Television that lawyers would take less than two months to get
documents together, have them approved by Peru's courts and
government, and file the request.

"I understand (it will take) no more than two or three
weeks," he said. "Peru's justice system expects to have the
fugitive Fujimori before the courts as soon as possible."

After Peru requests extradition, there would be a court
hearing in Chile where Peru would present charges and evidence
and Fujimori could defend himself. If the court rules for
extradition Fujimori would have an opportunity to appeal.

Fujimori is reviled by many Peruvians, but 15 percent of
the population support his presidential candidacy.

He was elected in 1990 when the Shining Path Maoist
guerrilla group was wreaking havoc in Peru. He defeated the
rebels and also tamed a hyperinflationary economy, but angered
even his supporters by trying to seize excessive power.

The charges against him bar him from political office, but
he has said he is confident the cases will all be thrown out.
His former spy-chief Vladimiro Montesinos is in prison after
being convicted of corruption after scandalous videotapes
surfaced of him bribing officials and businessmen.

Cesar Nakazaki, a Peruvian lawyer for Fujimori arrived in
Santiago on Tuesday and told reporters that he was confident
that all the cases against his client would be thrown out
because due process had not been followed.

"Those 21 charges are nullified, because he wasn't
guaranteed his right to a defense," Nakazaki said.

(additional reporting by Erik Lopez and Rodrigo Martinez)