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Public Prosecutor José Peláez: Fujimori’s guilty plea a political strategy

October 6th, 2009 · No Comments

 (Public Prosecutor José Peláez, who has been representing the Peruvian state in the trials against former president Fujimori. Photo: Praxis)


* Peláez says that Fujimori’s decision aimed to avoid jeopardizing the presidential campaign of his daughter Keiko

* Supreme Court to rule on 25-year sentence for rights violations by end of November

Dr. Peláez, why do you think Fujimori pleaded guilty to the charges of wiretapping his political opponents and bribing lawmakers and publishers?

I think he pleaded guilty, reducing the hearing’s duration to two days after it was expected to last a year, because he wanted to prevent the country from hearing the over 100 witnesses that would testify to his government’s corruption.  He didn’t want those testimonies to remind his voters of past crimes through the media that follow his criminal trials day to day.

Do you think he did this with his daughter Keiko in mind, since she will be the candidate of the Fujimori party in the 2011 presidential elections?

This is obviously the case.  The trial for violating the secrecy of communications and illegal payments was going to last at least a year, during which a ton of witnesses were going to parade down the courtroom and describe the corruption he was involved in.  This was going to jeopardize the pro-Fujimori electoral campaign since the testimony of all these witnesses would be transmitted through the media.  Among the [planned] witnesses were his ex-wife, Susana Higuchi and some former commander generals in the navy and armed forces.  So Fujimori did not want to jeopardize his daughter Keiko’s campaign. It is obvious that this was a political strategy.

In the event that Keiko Fujimori is elected president of Peru, would you fear retaliation given that you have criminally accused her father?

Congressman Carlos Raffo, who is one of the spokespersons of the Fujimori party, announced that his political grouping has concluded its activities in the judicial sphere and will work in the political sphere.  The only thing I would have to say is that both Public Prosecutor Avelino Guillén and myself have only been dedicated to the fulfillment of our job.  I didn’t ask to be made public prosecutor of Fujimori’s case.  Here we work impartially.  And if Keiko Fujimori is elected, we will be waiting to see what happens. Those are the risks that one runs.

…so you do believe retaliation is a possibility if Fujimori’s daughter is elected.

Well yes, it is a possibility.  Positions are not eternal.  They have already removed me before, in 1993.

And due to this situation in 1993, could you understand criticisms against you for being more severe with Fujimori?

No, in fact at the beginning I was harshly criticized for not being severe.  However, my work corresponds to the duties and responsibilities conferred to me by the law.  It does not have to do with severity, I have been very impartial.

Dr. Peláez, what sentence do you hope to achieve for the case of wiretapping and bribes?

The Supreme Court has condemned Fujimori to six years in prison for this case, surely for having pleaded guilty and made use of the legal recourse “anticipated conclusion of the lawsuit.”  The Public Prosecutor requested eight years.  However, I don’t think there is any extenuating element to reduce the sentence by two years. The fact that he has declared himself guilty can only reduce a sentence by a year, according to my understanding, since he has merely admitted to what was already proven.  This is why I believe the Transitory Criminal Court of the Supreme Court that will revise the case for its appeal will raise the sentence to seven years.

But this sentence will not be served if Fujimori serves his sentence for human rights violations to 25 years…

This is true.  But even though the sentence is not important, as you say, since Fujimori already has a sentence of 25 years for the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta crimes and kidnappings, it is important for the judicial sentence to be fixed according to the corruption he committed, such as the wiretapping and payments to congress members and the media.

When will the Transitory Criminal Court definitively rule on the 25-year prison sentence?

I hope that the Transitory Criminal Court respects the terms of the sentence issued by the court presided by Judge César San Martin, which is really well founded.  Here there could be three possibilities: the 25-year sentence could be upheld, reduced or annulled, ordering a new trial.  I am certain that they will uphold it. This must be decided on by the end of November.