Fujimori on Trial :: Fujimori procesado

Accountability in Action :: Rindiendo cuentas

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Public Prosecutor speaks out on criticisms

November 19th, 2009 · No Comments

In the past few weeks, the supreme public prosecutor Pablo Sánchez Velarde has been harshly criticized for stating in his opinion report that Alberto Fujimori did not commit aggravated kidnapping.  This assertion contradicts the 25-year prison sentence issued last April 7, convicting the former leader for murder in the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta executions and the aggravated kidnapping of journalist Gustavo Gorriti and businessman Samuel Dyer.

Several specialists, including lawyer Carlos Rivera with the Institute of Legal Defense (IDL), believe that Sánchez’s report favors Fujimori since it implies that he was condemned for a crime he did not commit.  During the period of appeal against this conviction, he has requested a lighter sentence for Fujimori as well as penitentiary benefits.

The hearing for the appeal will take place on Nov. 23 to 25, when the Supreme Court’s Transitory Criminal Court will have to decide whether to withdraw the charge of aggravated kidnapping, as recommended by Public Prosecutor Sánchez.  The court will also have to decide whether to uphold the ruling that the crimes committed raise to the level of crimes against humanity, which Fujimori’s defense contests.  The court’s decision to uphold, modify or annul the sentence will largely be defined by these debated elements.

In an exclusive interview with fujimoriontrial.org, Sánchez said that though his colleague, public prosecutor José Peláez Bardales, accused Fujimori of aggravated kidnapping and rights violations, he himself has a different opinion on the instance of kidnapping.

“That charge shouldn’t be included in the sentence [against Fujimori] and I think it is time to rectify that before the Transitory Criminal Court that will be revising the sentence.  My conclusion is impartial; it is juridical, strictly legal.  I am not passionately making this argument nor am I overshadowing the initial position of the Public Prosecutor’s Office.  When I give an opinion report, I don’t consider whether it favors or jeopardizes the defendants, rather I give it for legal reasons.  I have been criticized a lot, even by my own institution, but I am firm in my arguments: in the case of Fujimori there was no aggravated kidnapping.  I will not contend what others want me to,” he explained.

Sánchez further claimed that Carlos Rivera was not considering the legal arguments but rather the convenience of his client, Gustavo Gorriti, when he announced his criticisms.

“Both Gorriti and Dyer were kidnapped in 1992 and taken to the Army Intelligence Service, which Alberto Fujimori was completely aware of.  But these [captives] were not subject to cruel treatment, did not suffer physical violence and there is no indicated that their integrity was in latent danger,” the public prosecutor added.

Sánchez will present his arguments during the first hearing for the appeal, on Nov. 23.

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