- BBC News World
The Peruvian prosecutor’s office requested this Thursday that Keiko Fujimori, candidate for the presidency of Peru for the third time, return to preventive detention.
This request from a prosecutor comes in the midst of the tight counting of votes in the second round of the presidential elections in Peru, in which Fujimori is behind the leftist Pedro Castillo.
At the same time, Fujimori faces a criminal charge and a request for 30 years in prison for money laundering and other crimes, for allegedly receiving illegal contributions from the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht for its 2011 presidential campaign and contributions from Peruvian businessmen for its 2011 and 2016 campaigns.
Fujimori, from the Fuerza Popular party, had already served two periods of preventive detention between 2018 and 2020, but since May 2020 he faced the process in restricted appearance. The candidate denies the charges against her.
Now the prosecutor José Domingo Pérez wants to revoke the appearance because, as he argues, Fujimori he breached one of the conditions of this regime when communicating with witnesses linked to the investigation.
The prosecution specifically refers to Miguel Torres, a member of Fuerza Popular and a witness in the case.
Torres accompanied Fujimori in a conference on Wednesday in which he announced that he had asked the Peruvian electoral authorities to annul 802 voting records – some 200,000 votes – from the second round, on charges of alleged “fraud.”
What does the defense of Fujimori say?
This Thursday, in a press conference, Fujimori described the prosecutor’s request as “absurd” and said it would not distract her “at all” from her efforts to get the electoral authorities in Peru to review some 200,000 votes.
Fujimori also said that prosecutor Pérez intends “to continue being the protagonist of this electoral campaign.”
Fujimori’s lawyer Giulliana Loza said the request was “unsustainable” and “disproportionate” and that it “lacks any legal and factual basis.”
Loza admitted that Torres “is a witness” in the investigation, but hopes that the judge in charge of the case “will declare the petition inadmissible.”
How is the electoral process going?
Until the afternoon of this Thursday, the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE) of Peru was counting more than 99% of the voting records of the second presidential round.
According to the results, Castillo, from Peru Libre, has a slight advantage over his rival, with 50.199% of the votes, while Fujimori thyenas 49.801%.
Fujimori’s request for the nullity of 802 voting records presented on Wednesday could delay the count by about two weeks.
What are they accusing Fujimori of?
Jorge Barata, a former Odebrecht representative in Peru, declared in February 2018 that this company had given US $ 1.2 million to Fujimori’s party for the 2011 presidential campaign.
Subsequently, several Peruvian businessmen confessed to having given money for a total of at least US $ 14 million for the 2011 and 2016 campaigns, according to the investigation portal IDL-Reporteros.
Fujimori denies Odebrecht’s contributionsBut he has accepted that Peruvian businessmen gave him resources that he did not declare to the corresponding organizations because, according to what he said, he was asked to keep them in reserve.
How is the trial against Fujimori going?
Last March, before the first presidential round, the prosecutor Domingo Perez presented an accusation of more than 13,000 pages and requested 30 years and 10 months in prison for Keiko Fujimori and other members of his party, for the alleged crimes of organized crime, money laundering, obstruction of justice and false declaration in administrative proceedings.
What’s more, the prosecution requested the dissolution of Fuerza Popular, Fujimori’s party.
Before the accusation in March, Fujimori told the prosecutor Pérez: “I will not accept that they want to silence me in the middle of the electoral process” and described his measures as “persecution.”
As part of the investigation, Fujimori already served two periods of preventive detention, between October 2018 and November 2019 and between January and May 2020, when he was released with a restricted appearance order after posting bail.
During his presidential campaign, Fujimori had to request special permits from the Judiciary to travel within Peru and an impediment to leaving the country was maintained, as part of the conditions of restricted appearance.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.