Today marked the first of three hearing sessions called by the Supreme Court’s Transitory Criminal Court to revise the 25-year sentence against former president Alberto Fujimori for crimes against humanity. During this appeal, the Public Prosecutor and lawyers representing the family members of victims requested that the court uphold the sentence against the former head of state.
The first person to speak during the session was Public Prosecutor Pablo Sánchez Velarde, who reiterated his opinion that the charge against Fujimori for kidnapping should be reduced. In his 90-minute intervention, Sánchez presented the reasons that he believes the kidnapping of local journalist Gustavo Gorriti and businessman Samuel Dyer do not qualify as aggravated but rather simple kidnapping since nether was exposed to cruel treatment or extreme violence.
Sánchez added that there are abundant indices of Fujimori’s guilt for the crimes of murder and grave damages, stressing that these constitute crimes against humanity. He said that for this reason the sentence should remain 25 years in prison, despite the reduction of the kidnapping charge. He further stated his disagreement with the defense’s request for the former president to be absolved on the grounds of insufficient evidence.
After his intervention, the court allowed each of the lawyers representing the victims’ families to speak. The victims in this case include the 25 people murdered in the extrajudicial executions known as Barrios Altos and La Cantuta, as well as victims of kidnap, Gorriti and Dyer.
Carlos Rivera, one of the lawyers for the victims’ families, requested that Fujimori’s conviction be upheld since his trial complied with all of the fundamental principles of due process. He further indicated that the judges that presided over the trial continually acted in accordance with the standards demanded by their profession and that they gave ample facilities to the defense, in full respect of the defendant’s rights.
Ronald Gamarra, also representing the victims’ families, stated that the 16-month trial against Fujimori is a historic precedent that restores credit to the Judicial Power as a result of the independence, impartiality, objectivity and transparency of the judges that presided over the case.
Gamarra added that during his trial, the defendant enjoyed the most ample guarantees to his defense and the conviction was backed by extensive evidence linking the defendant to the crimes charged against him.
Lawyers Antonio Salazar, Gloria Cano, Gustavo Campos and David Velasco, all representing the victims’ families, similarly presented their arguments in favor of the sentence’s ratification.
Meanwhile, Fujimori’s defense lawyer, César Nakazaki, presented three alternative discharges for his client: absolution, total nullification or partial nullification of the sentence. Nakazaki also argued that the former president committed abuse of authority rather than aggravated kidnapping in the case of Gorriti and Dyer.
On the second day of the appeal ,tomorrow, Tuesday Nov. 24, Nakazaki will continue to expand his arguments.
Following the conclusion of these hearings, the court presided by Supreme Judge Duberlí Rodríguez will have to rule whether to uphold, modify or annul the 25-year sentence against the former president.