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The BBC's James Reynolds
"Mr Montesinos is now on the run"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 14 November, 2000, 04:07 GMT
Pressure piled on Fujimori
The video made available by the opposition
Mr Montesinos allegedly toasts intelligence chiefs in this video
The opposition in Peru has increased the pressure on President Alberto Fujimori by dismissing his ally at the head of Congress and releasing a new video showing his disgraced former intelligence chief congratulating the army for interfering in politics.

Opposition members on Monday voted to remove Martha Hildebrandt, after accusing her of blocking attempts to investigate the fugitive spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos.

Correspondents say Mrs Hildebrandt, known as the "Iron Lady", is one of Mr Fujimori's closest allies.

Mr Montesinos was sacked after a secret recording of him apparently giving a bribe was broadcast in September.

Toast

The scandal forced Mr Fujimori to cut short his presidential term.

Martha Hildebrandt
Martha Hildebrandt leaves the Congress building in Lima
The new video shows Mr Montesinos celebrating the outcome of last May's elections with leaders of the armed forces and police.

At one point he rises to his feet and toasts them for their role in helping Mr Fujimori to victory.

Correspondents say the president's ability to govern is increasingly being questioned, and that it is not clear whether he will be able to remain in power until early elections next April.

The latest video was released shortly after Mr Fujimori was criticised for leaving the escalating political crisis to attend a meeting in Brunei for Asian Pacific leaders.

Montesinos 'in danger'

Mr Montesinos is now on the run, and thought to be somewhere in Peru.

Mr Montesinos
Mr Montesinos during election celebrations
In an interview with a Mexican news magazine, he says he believes that his life is in grave danger.

He said he had been made a scapegoat by Mr Fujimori, who he claimed wanted him dead.

"Fujimori is desperate," Mr Montesinos told the Mexican magazine Epoca in a published interview.

"He is not looking for me for justice... He wants me for the guillotine."

Mr Montesinos is wanted for crimes including blackmail, extortion, money laundering and drug trafficking.

Swiss banking authorities recently announced a freeze on about $48m held in accounts he opened.

But President Fujimori said the government had now discovered evidence that Mr Montesinos also had secret bank accounts in the Cayman Islands, Uruguay and the United States.

Earlier this month, Attorney-General Blanca Nelida Colan resigned following criticism of her handling of the investigation into the allegations against Mr Montesinos.

It was widely believed that Ms Colan, a close ally, protected Mr Montesinos in past investigations.

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See also:

18 Sep 00 | Americas
Q & A: Fujimori resignation
02 Nov 00 | Americas
Bid to end Peru rebellion peacefully
03 Nov 00 | Americas
Peru's attorney- general resigns
12 Nov 00 | Media reports
Colombia drugs link to Peru scandal
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