Jail Time Reduced For Peruvian Politician Fujimori
The Supreme Court of Peru ruled to cut Peruvian politician Keiko Fujimori’s pre-trial detention period in half on September 12. While Fujimori has not yet been charged with any crime, she has been in preventive detention since November 2018. Her detention period was diminished from 36 months to 18 months.
Keiko Fujimori is the daughter of former-President Alberto Fujimori and the leader of Peru’s right-wing party, Fuerza Popular. Fujimori served as a member of the Congress of Peru from 2006 until 2011. Most recently, she has been her party’s nominee for president in both 2011 and 2016, although she lost both times.
France 24 reports that she was arrested just a week after her father’s presidential pardon for crimes against humanity was revoked. That week Fujimori tweeted: “Persecution has been disguised as justice in our country.”
The current case against Fujimori is part of an ongoing corruption investigation against the Brazilian company Odebrecht. According to Channel News Asia, the firm has admitted to paying at least $29 million USD in bribes to Peruvian government officials since 2004. Fuerza Popular has been accused of accepting $1.2 million USD to fund Fujimori’s 2011 presidential campaign. Three former Peruvian presidents are also under investigation for their involvement with Odebrecht.
The appeal for the recent reduction of Fujimori’s detention period was brought by her attorney, Guiuliana Loza, who argued that Fujimori did not pose a flight risk or a threat to ongoing investigations, reports Peruvian Times. Fuerza Popular’s legal advisors have been working to secure her release since she was first imprisoned and expected a majority of the magistrates presiding over the Supreme Court to approve Fujimori’s immediate release when the appeal was filed. Loza remarked that it was unjust and disappointing that not a single magistrate voted for immediate release when the case came before the court.
The Peruvian Times reports that a tie-breaking judge would be called in to rule if Fujimori’s sentence were to be shortened at all, showing that Fuerza Popular’s current influence in the judicial system may not be as strong as it was.
The official ruling sets Fujimori’s new release date as April 2020, allowing her to campaign for the presidential election in 2021. While Fuerza Popular still holds the majority in Congress and wields significant power within the political system, it is unclear how viable of a candidate Fujimori would be after this scandal. Fujimori, once one of the most popular politicians in the country, has an estimated approval rating of around nine percent.
In recent weeks, the special prosecuting team investigating the Odebrecht case has claimed to have obtained documents from the company that proves successful direct money transfer to the 2011 Fujimori campaign. If these documents exist and do, in fact, implicate Fujimori’s participation, they could trigger a reevaluation of her detention period and have tremendous effects on her future political prospects.