January 6, 2006

Fujimori registers to run for Peru’s presidency

By Robin Emmott

LIMA, Peru (Reuters) - Detained former leader Alberto
Fujimori registered to run for president of Peru on Friday,
hours after Chile took up Lima's request to extradite him for
corruption and human rights abuses.

Fujimori's daughter, Keiko, dressed in the former
president's trademark orange, handed documents to Peru's
National Electoral Board as thousands of supporters waved flags
outside and chanted: "No one can stop Fujimori!"

"This is a happy day. We won't accept more persecution of
my father," Keiko told a jubilant crowd of about 2,000 people
in central Lima.

Fujimori is jailed in Santiago, Chile, where he arrived
late last year after self-exile in Japan. Fujimori fled to
Japan after a corruption scandal ended his 1990-2000 tenure.

He has vowed to take back Peru's presidency despite being
barred from public office until 2011 and is gambling that
popular support will pressure lawmakers to drop that

His lawyers also argue that he would be immune from
prosecution as president if he took office on July 28, 2006.

Peru's electoral board only bars sentenced criminals from
running for president, but many political analysts expect
Fujimori's registration to be rejected. An official at the
electoral board told Reuters it would decide next week.

In Santiago, a Chilean judge opened the investigation into
Peru's extradition request and upheld his detention. Fujimori
was detained after his arrest two months ago.

Orlando Alvarez, the Supreme Court judge handling the
Fujimori case, must examine 12 boxes of evidence against the
former leader before, including allegations he authorized death
squads to defeat rebel violence, making a recommendation on


Fujimori, who swayed between the extremes of free market
democrat and dictator after being elected in a popular vote but
dissolving Congress in 1992, denies wrongdoing and says he is a
victim of political persecution.

Many poor Peruvians idealize Fujimori as a heroic figure
who defeated a bloody insurgency by Shining Path rebels in the
early 1990s, curtailed hyperinflation and built schools and
hospitals in remote areas neglected by previous governments.

Affectionately known as "El Chino" for his Asian
appearance, Fujimori has between 15 percent to 20 percent of
voter support, according to recent polls.

"Just for defeating terrorism, Fujimori has the right to
return to the presidency," said Gabriela Sanchez, 60, at the
supporters' rally in Lima.

The 12 boxes of evidence against Fujimori submitted by Peru
involve 10 corruption cases and two of the most serious human
rights abuse allegations against him Peru emphasized in its
extradition request the risks of releasing the former president
at this stage in the proceedings because he could flee the

(Additional reporting by Pav Jordan and Monica Vargas in
Santiago and Tania Mellado in Lima)