Final Fujimori extradition bid

“We have just received a fax informing us that the appeal has been lodged,” Briceno told reporters, arguing that it was strange the judge’s view ran counter to that of Chilean Attorney General Monica Maldonado, who had issued a report in favor of Fujimori being sent to Peru.

A day after rejecting Lima’s effort to extradite Fujimori, the Chilean judge in the case insisted Thursday the decision was his own.

“I did not receive any pressure from this (Chilean) government, nor any foreign government, and if I signed the ruling it is because I agree with it and have no doubts about it,” Judge Orlando Alvarez told reporters in Santiago.

Fujimori, who remains under house arrest in Chile’s capital, cautiously welcomed Alvarez’s decision to reject all of the charges against him, which include corruption and human rights abuses, as grounds for extradition.

“My family and I take this resolution with joy, but at the same time, with caution,” he said, after a celebratory meal of sushi with his visiting daughter, Keiko.

Outside Chile’s Embassy in Lima, scores of demonstrators gathered late
Wednesday under a steady drizzle burning posters of Fujimori and shouting angry slogans: “Chile if you want to be a good neighbor, give us back that thief.”

The US-based Human Rights Watch said Alvarez’s rejection of Peru’s request that Fujimori be extradited on human rights and corruption charges relating to his 1990-2000 presidency “makes little sense.”

“The judge completely ignored key pieces of evidence against Fujimori,” said HRW’s director for the Americas Jose Miguel Vivanco.

“Whether or not there is sufficient evidence to convict Fujimori should be determined in Peru at a much later stage, after extradition, prosecution, and trial,” he added.

The ruling went against the recommendation by Chile’s Attorney General Monica Maldonado, who had urged that Fujimori be extradited.

Alvarez’s decision leaves Peru’s former leader under house arrest in Santiago pending further legal proceedings.

Judicial officials said it would take at least three months for the Supreme Court to rule on the case.

Fujimori, 68, faces a dozen corruption, criminal and human rights charges in Peru stemming from his time in office, when he shuttered the legislature and the courts, calling the moves necessary to combat Marxist rebels.

The son of Japanese emigrants to Peru, he has denied all the charges against him.

Shortly after winning reelection for a third term, Fujimori came under pressure over corruption and election irregularities and resigned Peru’s presidency by fax in 2000 from a Tokyo hotel room.

He then received Japanese citizenship, based on his parents’ nationality, and Japan refused to extradite him to Peru. It was only when Fujimori landed unannounced in Chile to launch another bid for Peru’s presidency that he was apprehended, in November 2005.

He is now running for a seat in Japan’s Senate, a move Peruvians believe is aimed at avoiding justice in Peru.