Crime & Justice

Peru court: Keiko Fujimori to remain free during investigation

Lima, Jun 23 (EFE).- Peru’s Supreme Court on Thursday rejected an appeal filed by the Public Prosecutor’s Office to order the return to pre-trial detention of opposition leader Keiko Fujimori, who is being investigated for alleged money laundering during her 2011 and 2016 election campaigns.

The ruling by the high court’s criminal chamber was read in a virtual hearing transmitted via the judiciary’s social network accounts and stated that Fujimori will remain at liberty during the investigation.

The justices ruled that the appeal presented by prosecutors to be “without basis” and said that the request to once again put Fujimori in custody had been denied.

Fujimori is being investigated as a member of a criminal organization made up of her Fuerza Popular party’s leadership to accept and hide funds allegedly received in an irregular manner to finance her 2011 and 2016 election campaigns.

Among the contributions being investigated is a $1 million contribution or payment by Brazil’s Odebrecht construction company and some $3.65 million from Credicorp, Peru’s largest financial group.

The high court, made up of magistrates Maria del Carmen Altabas, Ivan Sequeiros, Erazmo Coaguila, Norma Carbajal and Hugo Nuñez, on June 10 held an audience to hear the arguments of the two sides regarding the appeal presented by the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The Public Ministry contended that Fujimori’s defense appeal for her to remain free had been presented after the deadline for filing. That appeal had resulted in her being released after she had completed 15 months in protective custody and, thus, the ministry contended that she must be returned to prison while the investigation continues.

The opposition leader was held in preventive custody starting in November 2018 but her release was ordered by the Constitutional Court in November 2019.

However, in January 2020 the judiciary ruled that she be held in custody for an additional 15 months, which she completed in May 2022, after which an appeals court ordered her release after receiving bail of $20,500.

Fujimori left prison at the most critical time during the coronavirus pandemic in Peru and after she complained about the risk of contracting the disease in while in custody, given that other female prisoners being held at the time in the overcrowded women’s prison in Lima had come down with Covid-19

EFE dub/gdl/rrt/bp

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