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The BBC's Clare Marshall in Lima
"The lawyer was stopped by police when he tried to leave his home in Lima"
 real 28k

Thursday, 28 December, 2000, 09:38 GMT
Peru hunts fugitive via internet
Interior Ministry website
Wanted in cyberspace: The Interior Ministry website
By Claire Marshall in Lima

In a sign of the growing desperation of the Peruvian authorities for clues as to the whereabouts of Vladimiro Montesinos, they have now taken their search to the internet.

The interior ministry has set up a website with a biography and photographs of the fugitive former intelligence chief, and details how potential informers can contact the authorities in secret.

Full Name: Vladimiro Lenin Montesinos Torres
Date of Birth: 20 May 1945
Birthplace: Arequipa, Peru
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Occupation: Lawyer
It is the first time that the Peruvian Government has ever taken such a step, and comes as Prime Minister Javier Perez de Cuellar admits he has no evidence as to the location of Mr Montesinos, who is charged with a range of offences, including human rights abuses and money laundering.

Under the title "Wanted", the site gives personal details about the 55-year-old, such as his hair and eye colour, and an image of his signature.

'Different faces'

It also has various photographs of Mr Montesinos, showing his "different faces", including one with a superimposed beard, after a bodyguard who claimed to have helped him flee the country said the ex spy-chief had let his stubble grow.

Computer-generated image of what Montesinos might look like with a beard
The site includes a computer-generated image of Montesinos with a beard
However, there are no images of what he might look like if last week's reports that he had plastic surgery to alter his nose and eyelids are true.

An interior ministry spokesman was "optimistic" that this tactic would work, saying that the site had received over 2,000 hits in under 24 hours.

Internet café users in the Peruvian capital, Lima, generally thought that it was a good idea.


Juan, 30, said that its confidentiality would encourage people to come forward with information.

Wendy, 21, thought that "it would encourage people to recognize him".

However, Julio Mont, who owns an internet café in the centre of the city, said that not enough people knew about the site for it to be of any real use.

There has been no confirmed sighting of the former head of intelligence for two months.

'Fled in October'

There are reports that he secretly fled Peru on a luxury yacht in October, stopping in Costa Rica before slipping in to Venezuela on a fake passport.

The Venezuelan authorities claim to have found no conclusive evidence of Mr Montesinos' presence in the country, but have pledged to arrest him if they find him.

Meanwhile in Peru, around 200 people suspected of having links with the former intelligence chief are currently being investigated.

His lawyer was arrested on 16 December.

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See also:

24 Dec 00 | Americas
Peru arrests ex-spy chief's lawyer
14 Dec 00 | Americas
Missing spy chief 'has fled Peru'
12 Dec 00 | Asia-Pacific
Fujimori secures Japanese haven
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