May 19, 2006

Former Peru president says won’t flee Chile

By Antonio de la Jara

SANTIAGO, Chile (Reuters) - Disgraced former Peruvian
president Alberto Fujimori met with family and lawyers on
Friday, a day after being granted bail despite concerns that he
remains a flight risk.

Fujimori insisted he would not try to flee Chile after a
ruling by the nation's top court granted him $3,000 bail while
he fights Peru's bid to have him extradited for trial on human
rights and corruption charges.

Fujimori had been in low-security confinement in Chile for
six months after living in exile in Japan for five years.

Chilean police stood outside his rented house in an upscale
Santiago neighborhood on Friday to ensure the safety of the
former Peruvian head of state, who rested inside, surrounded by
a wall and electrified fence.

Local and foreign media thronged outside but the house,
with a view of the Andes mountain range, was quiet and only
Fujimori's daughter and lawyer were seen coming and going.

"He is allowed to move around in Chile but he cannot leave
Chile," Gabriel Zaliasnik, one of his defense attorneys, said
outside the residence.

Fujimori, 67, was released on Thursday, six months after he
was arrested on request from Peru. Fujimori, who is of Japanese
descent, had fled Peru for Japan to avoid prosecution after his
1990-2000 government collapsed following a huge corruption

"It's hard for me to get used to all this space ... That
(fleeing) is totally ruled out," Fujimori told local media.

Chilean government spokesman Ricardo Lagos Weber also said
there was no indication he might bolt.

The Peruvian government and human rights groups, however,
say Fujimori is a flight risk and should not have been

"Fujimori has already avoided justice in the past by
fleeing to other countries," Jose Miguel Vivanco, director for
the Americas division of human rights group Human Rights Watch,
said on Friday.

Fujimori had dinner on Thursday with his daughter Sachi
Marcela at the two-story house that will be his home until
extradition proceedings against him are complete. Fujimori also
was to be joined by another daughter, Keiko Fujimori, on

Fujimori is accused of stealing $15 million in state cash
and using excessive anti-terrorism measures to crush Peru's
Shining Path movement. He denies any wrongdoing and says he is
the victim of political persecution.

Upon his arrival last year, Fujimori said he had chosen
Chile because its courts are seen as the most impartial in the

"What is the point of flight if he came to Chile
voluntarily to demonstrate his innocence from here?" Zaliasnik
said. "He does not trust the Peruvian justice system."

Peru has asked Chile to take measures to ensure Fujimori
does not attempt to flee the country.

The extradition case against Fujimori is expected to take
at least another month, the presiding judge said.