Sixty-fourth session. Former police general Antonio Ketín Vidal Herrera continued his testimony from last session. Vidal said that former president Alberto Fujimori asked him to defend Vladimiro Montesinos against reports of Montesinos’ ties to the most renowned drug-traffickers in Peru.
1. Incidents during the hearing:
Fujimori’s health cuts the session short.
On beginning the session, Fujimori told the Court that during the night he had suffered from hypertension, but that his current condition was stable. He added that he didn’t report this situation to the doctors in charge from the Institute of Legal Medicine and the National Penitentiary Institute because he lost trust in them:
“I have not told the doctors from the Institute of Legal Medicine about this [hypertension] for the more political than medical treatment they have been giving me. Though [those doctors] me that a lesion I have is only two millimeters and there is no problem, my personal doctor tells me even a microscopic leukoplakic patch can present a risk.”
The Court reminded Fujimori that despite whether he trusts the doctors who attend him, it is his duty to inform them of his health condition. Consequently the Court asked the doctors to evaluate the former president before continuing the session.
The doctors confirmed that Fujimori had indeed suffered from hypertension, but that he could continue the session. However, two hours later, Fujimori was examined again and the doctors recommended suspending the trial session since he again showed signs of hypertension.
This session lasted two hours while the normal sessions last six.
2. Antonio Ketín Vidal Herrera’s testimony. The most important aspects of Vidal’s testimony:
Fujimori’s response to the reports on Montesinos’ link to drug trafficking.
The witness said that in 1996 Fujimori called him to talk about the declarations made by famous drug trafficker Demetrio Chávez Peñaherrera, aka “Vaticano.” In these declarations, “Vaticano” claimed that he had paid Vladimiro Montesinos — Fujimori’s advisor and de facto director of the National Intelligence Service — US$50,000 each month in order to protect his shipments from the Peruvian jungle.
At that time, Fujimori assured Ketín Vidal that Vaticano’s statement was an invention of the political opposition. Furthermore, the witness said: “Fujimori told me my word was important. I knew that they wanted to use my credibility to clean Montesinos’ image. That’s why they recommended I go to the National Intelligence Service so that they could prepare me with questions and answers.”
It’s important to note that according to what Robles testified, Fujimori had command over the Colina military detachment through the National Intelligence Service (SIN), which was unofficially headed by Vladimiro Montesinos.
Peruvian National Police captured Abimael Guzmán without help from the SIN
Vidal assured that all of the intelligence work used in capturing subversive group Shining Path leader Abimael Guzmán was carried out by the Counter-Terrorism Office (DIRCOTE) and the Peruvian National Police, without the SIN’s intervention. After Guzmán’s capture, Montesinos asked Vidal to tell the press that SIN personnel had also participated. Vidal did not fulfill this request.
After the capture, the former head of the Army Intelligence Service (SIE) told Vidal that Fujimori expressly ordered Guzmán to be transferred to the SIE, which the witness also refused to carry out. The SIE is also where Peruvian journalist Gustavo Gorriti and businessman Samuel Dyer — who are also being represented in this trial — were held after being kidnapped.
Ketín Vidal Herrera will continue his testimony in the next session. Afterward, former military general Julio Salazar Monroe will testify. Salazar has been sentenced to 35 years in a separate trial for having command responsibility in the Cantuta crime. Following Salazar, Nicolás Bari Hermoza Ríos and Vladimiro Montesinos will testify. However, witness’ testimony is increasingly requiring more time and is delaying the trial.