Apart from health, another one of Fujimori supporters’ biggest complaints to date is the allegedly harsh penitentiary regime of the former president. However, amidst these complaints local newspaper La Primera claimed on May 2 that according to a private source, the former president lives in a “golden prison” and receives irregular visits from friends, family, Congressmen and unidentified lawyers.
Additionally, La Primera’s source said that he has made telephone calls to Japan amounting to over US$1,800 and has access to a laptop and cell phone. Furthermore, the visits from his lawyers, who allegedly come at night and leave in early hours of the morning, are unregistered. Even if sectors question the accuracy of these reports, they point towards the fact that the Judicial Power has taken great effort to provide Fujimori with adequate accommodations, even though his family contends otherwise.
The Peruvian National Penitentiary Institute (INPE) announced that these irregularities would be investigated. The only one that seems to have been addressed to date is the telephone calls, which the INPE claimed were made to Afghanistan, the United States and Spain by INPE personnel who will be sanctioned accordingly. One particularly suspicious phone call to Japan was reportedly made by the director of the Diroes (Police Special Operations Office) detention center, Alejandro Castro, to his brother-in-law (La República, May 11, 2008).
Kenji Fujimori, however, insists that his father’s penitentiary regime is cruel, claiming that “not even the most dangerous kidnappers and murderers” have to suffer it. Mr. Fujimori has access to outside air for four hours daily on non-trial days, including Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday he must attend the trial he faces for murder and kidnapping charges, which has already been made less strenuous due to complaints over Fujimori’s health and now lasts only six hours daily with two recesses — one for 20 minutes in the morning and another two hours long for lunch (24 Horas Libre, May 19, 2008)
Yet Kenji insists that this is not enough and continues to demand patio access for his father 12 hours daily and indiscriminant visits from friends and family (24 Horas Libre, May 19, 2008).
Wilfredo Pedraza, former director of the INPE, explained to fujimoriontrial.org that while those who are classified in the “special” penitentiary regime are allowed a daily average of four hours access to patios, this is almost never observed and the inmates have 12 hours of access as if they had an “ordinary” regime. He also confirmed that no inmates are allowed indiscriminate visits — “at least legally.” Inmates in an ordinary regime are only allowed visits three times a week from friends and family, while Fujimori is allowed to have visits involving personal contact with his family twice a week.
However, Pedraza also expressed that “there is evidence that [these regulations] are not being carried out.” There are people who come and go unregistered and Congressmen abuse their power of being able to enter prisons. “They should at least observe the normal schedule,” he said.
Fujimori was transferred on the night of May 26 to a new cell, in a supposedly better-equipped prison built especially for him. Local newspaper Perú21 reports that he has access to a total of 80 square meters, including four rooms: a bedroom, reception area for visitors, a bathroom and patio.
The newspaper further tells that “all his belongings — some 20 pictures, furniture, bed, desk and armoire — were taken by the National Penitentiary Institute.”
According to Diroes officials, the new prison is will have INPE personnel to maintain the inside of the prison while police officers guard the outside.