Court rejects call to return Keiko Fujimori to jail for graft

Prosecutors are seeking a 30-year jail term for Fujimori over claims of corrupt funding in previous election campaigns.

A Peruvian judge has declined a prosecutor’s request to return presidential election candidate Keiko Fujimori to remand prison for allegedly failing to comply with her bail conditions for the charges of money laundering and corruption that she faces.

Fujimori, the eldest daughter of the imprisoned former president Alberto Fujimori, is facing trial over claims she received $1.2m from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht to fund previous presidential campaigns in 2011 and 2016.

Prosecutor José Domingo Pérez told Judge Víctor Zúñiga on Monday that Fujimori breached bail restrictions by having contact with a witness in the case.

However, the judge found the claim was “without foundation” since she had not been given a warning, and extended Fujimori’s bail.

For her part, Fujimori said the prosecutor’s request was “arbitrary, disproportionate and unjust,” as dozens of her supporters demonstrated outside.

Fujimori has already spent 16 months in pre-trial detention. She has denied the charges against her.

Fujimori was conditionally freed in May last year due to the coronavirus outbreak, and was barred from leaving Peru or communicating with co-defendants or witnesses in the case.

Prosecutors have said they would seek a 30-year jail term for the 46-year-old daughter of the corruption-convicted ex-president.

Potential flashpoint

The hearing represented a potential flashpoint at a moment of already high tension in the country following the second round of the presidential vote on June 6.

Fujimori faced socialist Pedro Castillo.

Castillo has declared himself the winner after emerging with 44,058 more votes with more than 17.5 million votes tallied.

However, Fujimori has refused to admit defeat and has sought the disqualification of up to 200,000 votes on the grounds of fraud, a claim for which she has provided no public evidence.

During the weekend, thousands of supporters of both candidates, Fujimori and Castillo, took to the streets to call for democracy to prevail, and for the electoral jury weighing Fujimori’s fraud claim to work faster [Alessandro Cinque/Reuters]

The election pitted Castillo, a teacher and union leader with support in mostly poor rural areas, against free marketeer Fujimori, the scion of a powerful family whose backers include most of Peru’s urban elite.

During the weekend, thousands of supporters of both candidates took to the streets to call for democracy to prevail, and for the electoral jury weighing Fujimori´s fraud claim to work faster.

If Fujimori were to win the election, the criminal process against her would be halted until the end of her administration.

Pollster Ipsos Peru has said a statistical analysis of the ballots revealed no evidence of abnormal voting patterns favouring any one candidate.

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