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Peru: Fujimori avoids return to pre-trial detention

June 22, 2021

Keiko Fujimori has kept hold of her conditional release as she contests a presidential election and corruption charges. She has also made fraud allegations of her own.

Keiko Fujimori talking to reporters after the judge's ruling
Keiko Fujirmori is facing corruption charges that could carry decades of jail timeImage: Gerardo Marin/AAPpicture alliance

A judge in Peru dismissed a request on Monday to place presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori in pre-trial detention as she faces corruption charges and a narrow electoral defeat.

The right-wing candidate is trailing behind her leftist rival Pedro Castillo, however, the official result of the June 6 presidential election is awaiting the review of contested ballots.

Fujimori is facing corruption charges and has already spent 16 months in pre-trial detention. Her trial would be delayed until the end of her term if she is declared the winner of the vote.

In and out of detention

The presidential candidate was released from detention in May last year due to the coronavirus outbreak, on condition that she would not leave the country or communicate with co-defendants or witnesses from the trial.

The request to return the presidential hopeful to pre-trial detention was based on alleged sightings of Fujimori with a trial witness during a post-election press conference. Judge Victor Zuniga ruled the prosecution's request "unfounded."

The prosecutor who sought to have Fujimori returned to jail for violation of her parole conditions, Jose Domingo Perez, said he would appeal the judge's ruling.

Corruption charges

The 46-year-old is the daughter of the disgraced former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori who is serving several sentences, including for corruption, in prison.

Keiko Fujimori faces 30 years in prison if she is convicted. She allegedly took money from a scandal-ridden Brazilian company to fund two previous failed presidential bids. Fujimori has denied the accusations.

According to unofficial results she has also failed to best her most recent presidential opponent, although only by a margin of around 44,000 votes.

Fujimori has accused her rival of fraud and on Monday called on her supporters to present evidence of Castillo's Peru Libre party of cheating.

ab/nm (AFP, Reuters, dpa)