Fujimori's wife blasts Lima ruling as 'witch trial'

The Japanese wife of Peru’s former president Alberto Fujimori accused a Lima court on Wednesday of conducting a medieval-style “witch trial” after it sentenced him to 25 years behind bars.

The special court in Lima on Tuesday convicted Fujimori of “crimes against humanity” in connection with the murderous activities of an army death squad during his 1990-2000 rule.

Fujimori’s wife, Satomi Kataoka, said there was no evidence to support the ruling.

“This is just like a witch trial in medieval times,” said the 42-year-old, who married Fujimori in 2006. “How could this happen? I’m totally shocked and boiling with anger.”

Kataoka, who runs a hotel in Tokyo, praised her husband, who is of Japanese descent.

“He never spoke ill of other people during the trial,” she added, speaking by telephone. “He is a silent, decent man—a samurai with the Japanese DNA.”

Fujimori maintained his innocence throughout his 15-month trial.

He claimed that he was kept unaware of the actions of the death squad when it carried out the main crimes examined by the court: the murders of 15 people in 1991, and the abduction and murders of nine university students and their professor in the capital the following year.

But the court found he authorised and protected the army unit, known as La Colina.

Fujimori fled to Tokyo in 2000 and sent a fax from a hotel announcing his resignation as president. Japan considered him as a national by descent, and refused to extradite him.

However, in 2005 he travelled to Chile intending to restart his political career in Peru. He was arrested on arrival and extradited to Peru in 2007.

While he was under house arrest in Chile, he ran unsuccessfully for a seat in Japan’s upper house of Parliament with the support of a tiny conservative party, describing himself as “The Last Samurai” representing Japanese values.—Sapa-AFP



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