Peru court orders former president Fujimori tried for 1992 mass killing

President Peruvian Alberto Fujimori waves to supporters as he is wheeled out of the Centenario Clinic in Lima, where he was hospitalized for the last twelve days, on January 4. Prosecutors are seeking 25 years in prison for the former leader in the latest case lodged against him. (AFP)
Updated 20 February 2018
0

Peru court orders former president Fujimori tried for 1992 mass killing

LIMA: A Peruvian court ordered former president Alberto Fujimori on Monday to stand trial for the 1992 killings of six farmers, arguing that he lacks immunity despite a recent pardon for a different crime.
The National Criminal Court said the pardon granted to Fujimori in a human rights case for which he was serving a 25-year sentence did not apply to the murders of the group.
Prosecutors asked to try the ex-president and 23 others for the death squad killings.
Fujimori, 79, was pardoned by the current Peruvian president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, on December 24 on humanitarian grounds because of ill health.
The former leader had been serving a sentence for crimes that included commanding death squads that killed suspected civilian sympathizers of leftwing guerrillas that his regime was fighting.
The pardon triggered street protests in Peru and was slammed by international rights groups as a blow in the struggle against impunity.
Kuczynski’s pardon was seen by many as quid pro quo for help from Fujimori’s lawmaker son Kenji days earlier in beating an impeachment vote in Congress over alleged corruption.
Miguel Perez, Fujimori’s attorney, said it was not yet clear if the issue of immunity could be addressed again.
Perez told local media that he tried to have the ex-president serve as a witness in the new case, but failed. “So in this trial, he simply will be listed as one of the accused,” Perez said.
Prosecutors are seeking 25 years in prison for the ex-leader.
“Mr Fujimori now has resumed his status as a defendant, and in the case of the pardon, there was no sensible justification,” human rights lawyer Carlos Rivera said.
Fujimori’s daughter Keiko, leader of the largest party in congress, the right-wing Fuerza Popular, said she regretted that her father would be tried again.
She expressed hope the charges would not mean her father will be taken into custody again, give his age and poor health.
“Alberto Fujimori deserves to be free as he confronts this process,” Keiko Fujimori wrote on Twitter.
Kuczynski had pledged not to pardon Alberto Fujimori in the earlier case. But he did so just days after Kenji Fujimori’s vote in his favor, sparking speculation the pardon was a political quid pro quo.
Rights groups and relatives of victims asked the Inter-American Court of Human Rights earlier this month to rule against a pardon for Fujimori.
Kuczynski — who defeated Keiko Fujimori for the presidency in 2016 — said he had pardoned the ex-president for humanitarian reasons.
The pardon has drawn heavy criticism from victims of Fujimori’s 1990-2000 rule, as well as their relatives and human rights advocates.
Two United Nations human rights experts also said the pardon was a “slap in the face” to victims of his brutal rule.
“The presidential pardon granted to Alberto Fujimori on politically motivated grounds undermines the work of the Peruvian judiciary and the international community to achieve justice,” UN special rapporteurs Agnes Callamard and Pablo de Greiff said in a statement in December.
“We are appalled by this decision. It is a slap in the face for the victims and witnesses whose tireless commitment brought him to justice.”
Still, Fujimori earned respect from many Peruvians for his ruthless and unflinching campaign to defeat leftist guerrillas during his presidency.


Heavy snow kills three, snarls travel in US Southeast

Snow-covered roads made traffic move slowly on I-85 in Lexington, NC on Sunday, December 9, 2018. (AP)
Updated 16 min 10 sec ago
0

Heavy snow kills three, snarls travel in US Southeast

  • A motorist died and a passenger was injured in Matthews in southwestern North Carolina on Sunday when a tree fell on their vehicle

ATLANTA: An intense snowstorm headed out to sea on Monday after dumping up to 2 feet (60 cm) of snow on parts of the Southeastern United States, leaving three people dead in North Carolina and some 138,000 customers in the region still without power.
School districts across North and South Carolina and Virginia canceled classes for the day and emergency officials warned that heavy snow and icy roads were slowing their responses to problems such as hundreds of stranded motorists.
The storm dropped its heaviest snow in the appropriately named Whitetop, Virginia, tucked in the Appalachian Mountains along the western end of the Virginia-North Carolina border, the US National Weather Service said. Whitetop received 2 feet of snow, while Greensboro, North Carolina, had 16 inches (41 cm) and Durham, North Carolina, got 14 inches (36 cm).
Slippery conditions on roadways in central and western North Carolina and southwest Virginia were expected on Monday night as temperatures were forecast to drop below freezing, Daniel Petersen, NWS meteorologist, said.
But temperatures were expected to rise later in the week, reaching into the 50s F in North Carolina east of the mountains on Friday, when there is a chance of rain.
There were three storm-related deaths, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s office said in a statement. A person died from a heart-related condition while en route to a shelter, and a terminally ill woman died when her oxygen device stopped working.
A motorist also died and a passenger was injured in Matthews in southwestern North Carolina on Sunday when a tree fell on their vehicle as it was traveling, Matthews police officials said in a statement.
The number of customers without power in the Carolinas and Virginia had decreased to about 138,000 by Monday evening from more than 220,000, Poweroutage.us reported.
The storm prompted the cancelation of one in four flights into and out of Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, the sixth-busiest in the country, and other airports across the region, flight-tracking website FlightAware said.
The mayor of Greensboro, North Carolina, Nancy Vaughan, who declared a state of emergency for the city on Sunday, said online that its police and fire departments had responded to over 100 accidents and 450 stranded motorists.
“Stay off the roads if you can,” Vaughan tweeted on Monday.
More than 100 counties across Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia delayed or canceled classes on Monday because of severe weather.