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article imagePeru court sets date to decide on jailed opposition leader Fujimori's release

By AFP     Jul 24, 2019 in World

Peru's Supreme Court said Wednesday it will decide next month whether to free opposition leader Keiko Fujimori from pre-trial detention in a corruption case linked to Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.

Fujimori, the daughter of disgraced and jailed former president Alberto Fujimori, was herself incarcerated on October 31 last year when she was ordered to be held in pre-trial detention for up to three years.

Fujimori is accused of accepting $1.2 million in illicit party funding from Odebrecht for her 2011 presidential campaign.

The court said on its Twitter feed that the announcement on releasing her would be made on August 9.

"We will respect the timings (but) we'd have liked it to be earlier," said the 44-year-old politician's lawyer, Giuliana Loza, following the two-hour hearing.

In her opening statement to the court, Loza asked that Fujimori be freed.

"We've never lost faith... faith that this terrible nightmare will end," Loza added.

Controversial chief prosecutor Victor Rodriguez Monteza was absent from the hearing but submitted a report in favor of releasing the opposition leader.

That caused alarm bells, as Rodriguez Monteza was last year linked to a corruption scandal relating to the sale of sentences and influence peddling in the judicial system, in which magistrates close to Fujimori's party were also implicated.

Rodriguez Monteza's support for Fujimori's release shows stark divisions in the public prosecutor's office, as it was the prosecutor leading the investigation into illegal campaign funding, Jose Domingo Perez, who originally requested the opposition leader be detained.

Prosecutors have accused a total of 11 people linked to Fujimori's Popular Force party of running a criminal organization in order to raise funding for her 2011 campaign.

The Brazilian company has admitted paying at least $29 million in bribes to Peruvian officials since 2004.

Three former presidents are being investigated over Odebrecht while a fourth, Alan Garcia, committed suicide in April after police arrived at his house to arrest him for money laundering.

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