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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 December 2007, 00:53 GMT
Fujimori 'regrets' rights abuses
Alberto Fujimori in court on 21/12/2007
Fujimori has already been jailed for abuse of power
Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori has expressed regret over human-rights abuses committed during his decade in power.

He is on trial in Lima, accused of ordering an army death squad to kill 25 people and kidnap two others in the early 1990's.

Fujimori said the killings had hurt him deeply, but he denied authorising them as part of his campaign against rebels.

He was earlier jailed for six years on separate abuse of power charges.

'Pained'

Fujimori said he did not apologise - but extended his "deep regrets" to both victims of the government forces and those of rebel groups.

Any abuses committed during his presidency pained his soul, he said.

THE FUJIMORI ERA
1990: Wins a surprise victory at polls
1992: Dissolves Peru's congress with military backing, assuming greater control
1995: Restores congress and overwhelmingly wins a second term
2000: Re-elected for a third term amid allegations of ballot rigging
2000: Flees to Japan after Montesinos scandal breaks
2001-4: Japan refuses repeated attempts to extradite Fujimori
2005: Fujimori arrested on arrival in Chile on Peru's request
2007: Extradited from Chile to Peru

Fujimori also denied giving orders for the killings.

Activists and relatives of some of the victims accused Fujimori of being insincere.

"He had more than 15 years to ask the relatives' forgiveness... but he didn't do it," said Gisela Ortiz, whose brother was among those killed.

Fujimori, who was in power from 1990 to 2000, is accused of murder and kidnapping.

The charges relate to the activities of a death squad operating during the early 1990s, when the government was fighting a Maoist guerrilla group known as the Shining Path.

If found guilty in this trial he could face up to a further 30 years in prison.

Journalist

Fujimori's demeanour was in sharp contrast to the fiery outburst he made on the trial's opening day on 10 December.

Then, after shouting for several minutes that he declared himself innocent and that he had "never ordered the death of anybody", he was asked to calm down by the judge.

He argued that Peru was in a terrible state when he was president and under his governance it was dragged out of economic collapse and liberated from the terror of the Shining Path Maoist rebellion.

Denying that he was responsible for human rights abuses, he said on the contrary he was trying to protect the population.

"As a result of my government the human rights of 25 million Peruvians are respected," he said.

Fujimori's trial relates to two massacres carried out by a death squad known as La Colina, in which a total of 25 people died.

It is alleged the death squad was under the direct command of the Peruvian president.

Fujimori is also charged with ordering the illegal detention and interrogation of a prominent journalist, Gustavo Gorriti, and businessman Samuel Dyer, also in 1992.

The trial is taking place at a police base on the outskirts of Lima, where Fujimori has been held since being extradited from Chile in September.

It is believed the proceedings could last for several months at least.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Background to the former president's trial



SEE ALSO
Fujimori outburst as trial begins
10 Dec 07 |  Americas
Peru struggles with its dark past
10 Dec 07 |  Americas
Peru police 'kill leading rebel'
28 Nov 07 |  Americas
Peru court sentences coup backers
27 Nov 07 |  Americas
Timeline: Peru
22 Sep 07 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Peru
12 May 07 |  Country profiles

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