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Monday, 1 July, 2002, 18:53 GMT 19:53 UK
Peru's ex-spy chief jailed for corruption
Former Peruvian spy-chief Vladimiro Montesinos (l)
Montesinos (l) showed little emotion at the trial
A court in Peru has sentenced Vladimiro Montesinos, former security chief to disgraced ex-President Alberto Fujimori, to nine years in prison for corruption.

Demonstration in Lima street
Fujimori: Resisting efforts to bring him back to Peru

The conviction is just one of more than 70 charges against Mr Montesinos, who was convicted of illegally taking over country's National Intelligence Service while he was an advisor to the spy agency.

Montesinos, who was also fined the equivalent of $2.8m by the judge, showed little emotion as the sentence was read out, and spoke only to say that he wanted to exercise his right to appeal, Reuters news agency reported.

The trial was held in a naval base just outside the capital, Lima, without a public hearing, as Peruvian law dictates that charges such as usurping office are held behind closed doors.

Abuse of power

The charges stem from the administration of Mr Fujimori in the 1990s, where Montesinos is accused of wide ranging abuses of power, from drug-running to illegal arms deals and the murder of hundreds of leftist rebels.

He is also accused of running a network of bribes and backhanders to government officials, military officers and business leaders.

Crucially, it was Montesinos who finally brought down the presidency of Mr Fujimori in September 2000, when he was seen in a secretly taped video supplying a bribe to an opposition politician to persuade him to join Mr Fujimori's party.

He later escaped the country. But after nine months on the run he was captured in Venezuela and put in a Peruvian prison.

Mr Fujimori is currently in exile in Japan, where he fled to avoid trial.

Current Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo is attempting to extradite the disgraced former president on charges of allegedly sanctioning a massacre by two death squads.

Judicial authorities hope later this year to proceed with further trials relating to the charges levelled against Montesino.


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