Peru ex-president convicted in murder trial

April 7, 2009 8:42:41 AM PDT
A special tribunal convicted former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori of murder and kidnapping on Tuesday for death squad activities during his 10-year rule during the 1990s."This court declares that all four charges have been proven behind all reasonable doubt," presiding judge Cesar San Martin told a hushed courtroom.

There was no question, he said, that the 70-year-old Fujimori authorized the creation of a military death squad that killed some 50 people.

Fujimori apparently anticipated a guilty verdict. He sat alone taking notes as the verdict was read after a 15-month televised trial.

He faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and the court was expected to issue a sentence later Tuesday after a full reading of the sentence.

Fujimori is the first democratically elected former president to be tried for rights violations in his own country. His lawyers have said he would appeal the verdict.

Outside the Lima police base where the trial was being held, pro- and anti-Fujimori activists fought each other on the street with sticks, fists and rocks before the melee was broken up by riot police.

Some 30 relatives of victims clashed with about 500 Fujimori supporters. No injuries were immediately reported.

In its first bloody raid, the military death squad Fujimori was convicted of authorizing killed 15 people ? including an 8-year-old ? with silencer-equipped machine guns during a raid on a barbecue in July 1991 in the Barrios Altos district.

Seven months later, in July 1992, the so-called Colina group "disappeared " nine students and a leftist professor at La Cantuta university.

Fujimori was also convicted of two 1992 kidnappings: the 10-day abduction of businessman Samuel Dyer and the 24-hour abduction of Gustavo Gorriti, a leading journalist who had criticized the president's shuttering of the opposition-led Congress and courts.

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