Page last updated at 05:07 GMT, Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Fujimori trial enters final stage

Peruvian former President Alberto Fujimori, file pic from June 2008
Mr Fujimori faces up to 30 years in jail if convicted

The trial of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori for alleged human rights abuses during his 1990-2000 rule has entered its final stages.

The chief prosecutor used his closing arguments to accuse Mr Fujimori of directing a dirty war against suspected Maoist Shining Path guerrillas.

Mr Fujimori is accused of authorising the killing of 25 people in two massacres. He denies the charges.

The former president faces up to 30 years in jail if convicted.

His defence lawyers maintain he was kept in the dark about clandestine killings by a death squad known as La Colina, and never approved of the counter-insurgency methods.

Autocratic or heroic?

The televised year-long trial - which has been suspended several times due to Mr Fujimori's poor health - has divided Peruvians, says the BBC's Dan Collyns in Lima.

1991 Barrios Altos killings: 15 dead
1992 La Cantuta killings: 10 dead
1992 illegal detention: journalist Gustavo Gorriti and businessman Samuel Dyer
Separate trial on corruption and illegal wiretapping charges

There are those who continue to see Mr Fujimori as the man who stopped a brutal insurgency and revived the economy.

But many others view his 10-year presidency as autocratic and extremely corrupt, says our correspondent.

The leak of videotapes showing his de facto intelligence chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, bribing opposition politicians and television executives in 2000 threw Mr Fujimori's government into disrepute.

He resigned as president while in Tokyo and stayed there for the next five years before flying to Chile in 2005 where he was arrested. Two years later he was extradited to Peru.

Summary executions

It is alleged La Colina was under the direct command of the Peruvian president.

In 1991, the death squad raided a barbecue in a poor suburb of Lima known as Barrios Altos and killed 15 people.

The following year, they kidnapped nine students and a professor.

They were taken away from the campus and summarily executed. Their remains were later found in an unmarked grave.

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

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