Fujimori released on bail in Chile

31 May 2006

It has come as a surprise to Human Rights groups and to those seeking the extradition of Peru's former President, Alberto Fujimori, that he was freed on a $3,000 bail on 18 May, after six months in a Chilean jail. Although the conditions of his bail state that he must remain in the country, lawyers for the Peruvian state say granting him bail is a mistake. "This ruling raises the possibility for Fujimori to escape," said Alfredo Etchberry, a lawyer for the Peruvian government. Fujimori has form, having already fled from Peru and Japan.

Chile's Supreme Court is yet to rule on whether he can be extradited to Peru to face charges of human rights abuses and corruption, but Peruvian officials are now concerned that he may interfere in the Peruvian elections.

Chilean judges ruled that Mr Fujimori did not represent a danger to society and would not obstruct the process.

He had been in detention since November 2005, when he arrived in Chile from Japan with a view to running in the Peruvian presidential elections. He is banned from running until 2011. A formal request for his extradition was filed in January.

A few days after his release, Mr Fujimori gave an interview to the BBC claiming that the charges against him were isolated and "without substance".
"In my government, there were clear instructions that the fight against violence was to be carried out with respect for human rights," he said.

He refused to be drawn on which candidate he would back in the election – his term in office came straight on the back of Mr García’s sky-high inflation, and later faced a coup attempt from Mr Humala.

The high court judge, Orlando Álvarez, of the supreme court indicated that the extradition process is underway and that a decision could be made within the next month.

As he stepped out of the jail, he was greeted by journalists and human rights campaigners with chants of “Fujimori asesino”. But was then taken to his new luxury residence, rented for him by his children, in an exclusive residentail suburb of Santiago de Chile where he will await his verdict.


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