International

Peru opposition leader Fujimori appeals jail sentence

A lawyer for Peru's powerful opposition leader Keiko Fujimori filed an appeal Tuesday against a 36-month prison term that would effectively bury her chances of a presidential run in 2021.

Peruvian opposition leader Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of a former president, is being held behind bars pending the outcome of a multimillion-dollar corruption probe that has rocked national politics
Peruvian opposition leader Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of a former president, is being held behind bars pending the outcome of a multimillion-dollar corruption probe that has rocked national politics (Peruvian Judiciary/AFP)

A lawyer for Peru's powerful opposition leader Keiko Fujimori filed an appeal Tuesday against a 36-month prison term that would effectively bury her chances of a presidential run in 2021.

Fujimori was jailed last week pending the outcome of a multimillion-dollar corruption probe that has rocked Peruvian politics.

Her lawyer, Giuliana Loza, told reporters the application lodged with the court was "well supported and detailed" and responded "to each of the points made" by Judge Richard Concepcion Carhuancho in his ruling.

The defense is seeking an appeal court hearing within two weeks.

"Should they reject the application, we will go to the Superior Court," said Loza.

The daughter of disgraced former president Alberto Fujimori is accused of accepting $1.2 million in illicit party funding from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht for her 2011 presidential campaign.

She could face 20 years in prison if eventually convicted.

In ordering her detention, Carhuancho said there was a "serious suspicion" that Fujimori was running a "de facto criminal organization that is entrenched within the party" and had laundered illicit money.

He described Fujimori as a "high flight risk" and said "the only necessary measure in her case is undoubtedly preventive detention."

Meanwhile, Carhuanco heard public prosecutor Jose Domingo Perez's requests that another 10 suspects from Fujimori's Popular Force party be jailed.

Perez has requested they also be sentenced to 36 months' detention, so as not to hinder the giant Odebrecht investigation.

In court, Perez outlined the case against Adriana Tarazona, whom he said was "an alternate treasurer" of the party put in place by Fujimori.

"Being alternate treasurer designated by Keiko Fujimori, she was the de facto treasurer, who handled party accounts and campaign expenses that treasurer Antonieta Gutierrez did not know about."

Tarazona was close to Fujimori "and only received orders from and rendered accounts to her."

The prosecutor said that the official party treasurer had resigned because she witnessed "non-transparent goings on, and administrative mismanagement taking place in the alternate treasury" of the party.

Peru's constitution allows for suspects to be held without trial for up to 36 months in complex cases such as the Odebrecht investigation, which involves tracing millions of dollars in illicit payments.