Amnesty International: Fujimori cannot be trusted

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Peru’s Amnesty International Director Ismael Vega has said that it is hard to believe that fugitive ex-President Alberto Fujimori will abide by the decision of the Chilean courts if they rule in favor of his extradition to Peru, given his track record of dishonesty.

“You cannot believe Fujimori. He can say that he will respect the judgment and that he has no plans to try to escape, but his track record shows that he is not necessarily going to keep to his word,” he said in an interview on Ideeleradio.

For that reason, the Amnesty International official said that measures must be taken to prevent any possible escape by the former head of state, who spent 5 years after leaving office in voluntary exile in Japan – where, as a Japanese citizen, he was immune to extradition proceedings.

Vega stated on Radio San Borja that “the track record that Fujimori has in terms of keeping to his declarations, of justice and of respect for the law goes totally against his recent statements. He is a person characterized by a lack of respect for the rules”.

He added that Fujimori has an “irresistible compulsion to distort reality and try to change the facts,” as the ex-president claims that the corruption and crimes against humanity of which he stands accused were the result of a cooperation between his intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos and the military command, without his having any say in the matters.

Drug growers may switch from cocaine to cocoa

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Coca eradication in Huánuco

The farmers of Huánuco, who have recently been involved in violent civil unrest to protect their right to crow cocaine-precursor crop coca, have requested temporary financial aid from the state while they change over to growing cacao, from which chocolate is made. According to Grover Pango, who represents the government in talks regarding coca eradication, this is the first major breakthrough that has been reached.

Talking to the Andina agency, he added that the government will stand firm on the eradication of the coca crops of the Upper Huallaga area, which are used almost exclusively for cocaine production rather than for traditional and legal leaf chewing and coca tea production. “That is not a point at issue, the eradication of coca will continue,” he said.

He stated that the talks are about the people of Huánuco and the problems they face, and include Regional President Jorge Espinoza as well as representatives of the coca growers’ movement. They were recently started as a measure to quell growing civil unrest in Huánuco, and will last until July 9th, with the aim of forming an inclusive development plan for the region.

Pango revealed that one of the key demands of the growers’ movements is to know what will happen to the 34 of their members who were arrested during the recent outbreak of violence.

They also demand explanations for the allegedly violent and abusive invasion by police of fields growing crops other than coca in the same region. Government sources say that the case is currently under investigation.

Talking to RPP radio news, he said that the talks are a key opportunity for substituting illegal coca growing with alternative crops, which he hopes will be part of the development plan. He added that cacao presents an interesting possibility for the region, and that the government is considering investment in increased cacao production as a replacement for the coca – which has historically been the only profitable crop in the region.

Fujimori “will accept” extradition ruling

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Peruvian ex-president Alberto Fujimori, who is confined to Chile awaiting extradition procedures for corruption and crimes against humanity he is alleged to have committed while in office, today stated that “without doubt” he will accept the court’s judgment, whatever it may be.

“Of course I will accept it, without doubt… but I cannot get ahead of myself, I can’t speculate,” he said in a statement broadcast on Frecuencia Latina TV.

The ex-president, who has been forbidden to leave Chile since his arrest there in November 2005, said that he is waiting patiently for the Chilean court’s decision, and reiterated that he has no plans to attempt to flee or seek refuge in the Japanese embassy in Santiago.

After fleeing the Peru in 2000 and renouncing his presidency by fax, he remained in voluntary exile in Japan where, as a Japanese citizen, he was immune to extradition.

See also our page on Alberto Fujimori

Bomb scare in Lima

The finding of three objects believed to be bombs caused general alarm in Santa Beatriz, Lima yesterday.

Police cordoned off the area and specialist explosives disposal officers rushed to the scene to examine and defuse the three brick-shaped objects. The objects were transported in a secure vehicle to the police station on Av. Petit Thouars in Lince for further examination.

Officers have since qualified these events as a false alert, although it seems that the real contents of the objects remains a mystery.

“Weak government” should not have caved in, says Antezana

Sociologist and expert in the war on drugs Jaime Antezana today condemned the government’s decision to temporarily suspend coca eradication programs. He even said that even the government of former president Alejandro Toledo showed such weakness.

He argued that this agreement is unprecedented, and goes against international treaties on drug traffic that Peru has signed.“Now, with a little protest centered in Tocache” it has had to concede this point, he said.

He further maintained that this measure will bring complications, given that more than 90% of coca grown in Peru is sold illegally for use as a raw material in cocaine production.Analysts also fear that the concessions granted so quickly after so small-scale a protest may lead diverse other factions to engage in violent action as a proven way to gain results.

Fujimori to face further questioning in Chile

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The anti-corruption state prosecutors of Peru have sent three requests to the supreme court of Chile, requesting that they question ex-dictator Alberto Fujimori. Fujimori is currently forbidden from leaving Chile as proceedings continue for his extradition to Peru, to face charges related to ten counts of corruption and two of human rights abuses that he is accused of committing during his 1990-2000 presidency.

One of the requests is associated with Fujimori’s former spy chief and right-hand-man Vladimiro Montesinos, who is currently imprisoned in Peru for acts perpetrated under the ex-president’s regime.In these three cases, it is likely that the requests will be approved and that Fujimori will face further questioning.

The former president and dictator has been in Chile since his arrest there in November 2005, when he was attempting to return to Peru to stand for President in the 2006 elections. He had previously been in voluntary exile in Japan since 2000, when he sent a fax from his home in Tokyo to the Peruvian embassy there resigning from power. As a Japanese citizen, he was immune from extradition while in Japan.

Lawyers believe that the extradition proceedings will last until September or October.

See also:
Alberto Fujimori
Vladimiro Montesinos
Investigation into Fujimori for terrorist arms trafficking
Editorial: The Bean Backs Benedicto
Failure of Fujimori extradition may result in protests

Madre Mía investigation moves into new phase

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The Public Ministry has now concluded its investigations into the “Madre Mía” case, and at the end of the month will issue its findings and decide whether criminal proceedings are warranted. The case revolves around accusations that opposition leader Ollanta Humala bought witnesses in the human rights trial over suspected disappearances at the Madre Mía counter-terrorist base in 1992.

Appellants Teresa Avila and Maria Sullca accused a supposed accomplice of offering them US$20,000 on Humala’s behalf, in exchange for changing their testimony over the disappearance of close family members.The man they fingered as a go-between is the cousin of a member of Humala’s retinue.

The ex presidential candidate is under investigation by the Fourth Supra-Provincial Court for crimes against humanity, forced disappearance, murder, assault, and human rights abuses. He appeared before the commission on Thursday, denying all counts and claiming that the accusations were politically motivated.

The state prosecutor in charge has publicly assured him that the proceedings will be “impartial and just”, and will be seen by all to adhere strictly to due process.

See also:
Humala to appear before commision