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Monday, 9 April, 2001, 15:46 GMT 16:46 UK
Fujimori stays silent
Alberto Fujimori
Fujimori: Isolated and beleaguered
As Peruvians went to the polls on Sunday, the man who ruled the country with an iron fist for the last decade was conspicuously silent.

So silent that former President Alberto Fujimori did not even vote in the country's presidential elections at one of the nine polling stations set up by the Peruvian embassy in Japan, where he lives in self-imposed exile.

When Mr Fujimori fled Peru last November in the wake of an ever growing corruption scandal, he was in a defiant mood.

Amid rumours that he would seek political asylum in Japan, Mr Fujimori faxed his letter of resignation to the Peruvian Congress and said he was an innocent victim of political persecution.

Rebel bodies exhumed
Bodies are exhumed to determine whether to charge Fujimori with murder
In the event, Mr Fujimori claimed his Japanese parentage entitled him to citizenship - a claim substantiated by Tokyo - and was therefore protected from extradition.

He did not return to Peru.

Back home Mr Fujimori was being investigated on all fronts - including an examination of his personal finances and his alleged illegal activities with his former aide and spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos.

As the scandal unfolded, Mr Fujimori denied knowledge of his former right-hand man's wrongdoings.


The former president also said if legislators wanted to question him, they should travel to Japan.

Peru's Congress rejected his resignation and, instead, voted him out declaring him mentally unfit to govern.

In February, legislators lifted Mr Fujimori's immunity from prosecution, clearing the way for him to be summoned to appear in court for dereliction of duty. He also faces charges of illicit enrichment, extortion and misappropriation of public funds.

But that is not all.

Even what were once considered Mr Fujimori's biggest successes are the matter of new investigations, in particular the military operation which put an end to the rebel siege of the Japanese embassy in Lima.

Last month, Peruvian police exhumed the bodies of the rebels who had allegedly been killed during the commando raid to determine if they should charge the former president with murder.

As many of his former generals and aides fall, and the charges against him appear set to grow, Mr Fujimori's return to Peruvian politics looks increasingly unlikely.

And, judging by the results of Sunday's general elections, he will not have many supporters left in Congress.

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See also:

09 Apr 01 | Americas
Run-off to decide Peru president
13 Mar 01 | Americas
Peru exhumes bodies of rebels
02 Mar 01 | Americas
Peru court summons Fujimori
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