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Last Updated: Friday, 21 September 2007, 18:16 GMT 19:16 UK
Fujimori likely to go down fighting
By Daniel Schweimler
BBC South America correspondent


Relatives of students murdered at La Cantuta university light candles to celebrate the extradition of Mr Fujimori
Mr Fujimori is implicated in the murder of nine students
Human rights campaigners have hailed the Chilean Supreme Court decision to extradite the former president of Peru, Alberto Fujimori, as a landmark case.

The Americas director for Human Rights Watch, Jose Miguel Vivanco, said:

"After years of evading justice, Fujimori will finally have to respond to the charges and evidence against him in the country he used to run like a mafia boss."

The campaigner, who was in Santiago for the ruling, said the decision also reflected well on the Chilean judicial system which itself is dealing with human rights abuses committed under military rule in the 1970s and 80s.

Alberto Fujimori's supporters and enemies will wonder what on earth he was thinking when in November 2005 he started the journey back to Peru to relaunch his political career after five years in exile.

Abduction and murder

He had been accused of several counts of corruption but it was the human rights abuses which captured the public attention.

He is accused of ordering the Colina Group, a specialized police intelligence outfit, to raid a party at which they killed 15 people, including an eight-year-old boy.

He is also implicated in the abduction and murder of nine students and their teacher, whose bodies were later hidden.

Mr Fujimori was changing planes in Chile on his way back to Peru to relaunch his political career when he was arrested under the terms of an international warrant.

He had been in exile for five years in Japan, where his parents came from. He holds dual Peruvian and Japanese nationality.

Demonstrators shout slogans against Mr Fujimori during a march in Lima (July, 2007)
The case has been bogged down in judicial and political bureaucracy

Relations between Chile and Peru have always been difficult and many in Peru were surprised that the Chilean authorities were co-operating.

But the case then got bogged down in judicial and political bureaucracy. First they said he should be extradited, then a judge said he should not.

In a bizarre twist to the story, Mr Fujimori even stood in the Japanese elections, hoping to be voted into the Senate and claim immunity from prosecution. It did not work.

To add to his woes, while he was under house arrest in Chile, his political adversary and the man he took over from as president in 1990, Alan Garcia, made a political comeback of his own.

And Mr Garcia, who himself faced accusations of corruption the last time he was in office, will be keen to show that his government is serious in trying to clean things up - and at the same time put behind bars a potential political enemy.

Alberto Fujimori still has some support in Peru but his friends are disappearing fast.

He was credited with controlling the Maoist Shining Path guerrilla organisation that wreaked havoc in Peru in the 1980s and for taming rampant inflation.

But he left office in disgrace in 2000, faxing his resignation from a hotel in Tokyo. The final shame will be taking the stand in a court in Lima.

It will be the first time a former head of state has been tried in his own country, setting a precedent for potential similar cases around the world.

There will also be many in Peru waiting to hear what Alberto Fujimori has to say for himself.

He is likely to go down fighting - bringing several of those who collaborated with him during his 10 years in office down too.


SEE ALSO
Q&A: Fujimori's extradition
21 Sep 07 |  Americas
Fujimori loses Japan election bid
29 Jul 07 |  Americas
Judge blocks Fujimori extradition
11 Jul 07 |  Americas
Fujimori again under house arrest
08 Jun 07 |  Americas
Fujimori gets married from cell
06 Apr 06 |  Americas
Profile: Alberto Fujimori
03 Jan 06 |  Americas

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