A Peruvian judge denied a prosecutor’s request to detain Keiko Fujimori, a presidential candidate accused of corruption, while the country awaits the results of the June 6 elections in which she ran.
Fujimori, who is trailing socialist candidate Pedro Castillo in the unverified vote count, faces a possible corruption conviction if she loses the election.
If she wins, the election will be postponed until the end of her tenure.
Fujimori has already served 16 months in pre-trial imprisonment on suspicion of accepting funds from the scandal-plagued Brazilian construction company Odebrecht to bankroll failed presidential campaigns in 2011 and 2016. She disputes the allegations.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak in May of last year, Fujimori was granted conditional release and was prohibited from leaving Peru or interacting with co-defendants or witnesses in the case.
Prosecutors have announced they will seek a 30-year sentence for the 46-year-old daughter of ex-president Alberto Fujimori, who was convicted of corruption.
Prosecutor Jose Domingo Perez accused Fujimori of communicating with witnesses in breach of her interim freedom terms and sought a judge to remand her in detention on June 11, just days after the election.
Miguel Angel Torres, the witness, had served as an advisor to Fujimori at a post-election press conference.
However, following a lengthy hearing on Monday, judge Victor Zuniga determined that Fujimori’s plea to have his parole revoked was “unfounded.”
Fujimori attended the hearing with her lawyer Giuliana Loza and prosecutor Perez, who stated that he will appeal the decision.
Perez had argued that Fujimori must be ordered back in detention “because of the seriousness of the crimes she is accused of,” adding she “systematically violated the rules of conduct of not communicating with witnesses.”
As dozens of her supporters rallied outside, Fujimori said the prosecutor’s request was “arbitrary, disproportionate, and unjust.”
The judge denied the request, but warned Fujimori to follow her parole restrictions in the future.
Stakes are high.
According to the unconfirmed total, Castillo received 50.12% of the vote in the June 6 runoff election, giving him a 44,000-vote lead against Fujimori.
A study of contested votes, primarily from Fujimori’s side, which claims massive fraud, is delaying the final conclusion.
On Monday, she reiterated her charges, pushing followers to come out with evidence “of how Peru Libre cheated,” referring to Castillo’s party.
Fujimori supporters have called for the election to be canceled, but the radical rural schoolteacher has refused.
Over the weekend, supporters of both candidates marched in protests, demanding an end to the uncertainty.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN