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Fujimori faces 30yr jail term

LIMA, Feb 12 – Peruvian prosecutors have said they stood behind a call for former president Alberto Fujimori to be jailed for at least 30 years with a verdict in his marathon trial now due in mid-March.

"The prosecution will appeal any sentence under 30 years," prosecutor Jose Pelaez told reporters, adding the trial would conclude in about 10 more hearings, meaning there could be a verdict "around mid-March, perhaps March 20."

"The prosecution has requested a sentence of 30 years of imprisonment, and we are confident that the court will apply this sentence against Mr Fujimori," he added.

Fujimori, 70, is accused of ordering two massacres that killed 25 people during his controversial decade in power that ended in 2000. Prosecutors also charge that the former president, who has Japanese roots, designed a "dirty war" strategy to combat the Maoist Shining Path insurgency.

The iron-willed former president has denied those charges, and his defense attorney Cesar Nakazaki is now expected to make his case, as is the former president, before the trial goes to judge Cesar San Martin for a ruling.

Either side can appeal the final ruling to Peru’s Supreme Court, which could mean the case, which opened in December 2007, could drag on for months.

Fujimori has been held in Lima since he was extradited from Chile in September 2007 to face trial. He is already serving a six-year prison term for abuse of power in an unrelated case.

Although many Peruvians credit him with reviving their economy and defeating the Shining Path insurrection, the former president is also reviled for suspected corruption, autocratic rule and allegedly ordering opponents to be beaten or tortured.

He fled to Tokyo in 2000 amid a corruption scandal and resigned the presidency by fax from his hotel.

Japan considered Fujimori, whose parents were Japanese, to be a national and refused to extradite him. But Fujimori traveled in 2005 to Chile, which detained the ex-president and later granted Peru’s extradition request to send him for trial.

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Proceedings have been suspended several times due to Fujimori’s poor health.


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