Tuesday, April 7, 2009
LIMA (Reuters) - Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was convicted of human rights crimes and sentenced to 25 years in prison on Tuesday, the first time a democratically elected Latin American president has been found guilty in his own country of such offenses.
A three-judge panel convicted him of ordering a military death squad to carry out two massacres that killed 25 people during his 1990-2000 rule, when he was battling communist guerrillas. Nearly 70,000 people died in two decades of conflict in the Andean country.
Once lauded as a hero, Fujimori, 70, could spend the rest of his life in prison. He can file an appeal, but the verdict is likely to have far-reaching political implications for Peru.
"He was the president who saved our country from terrorism," the former president's daughter Keiko Fujimori, a presidential hopeful and popular lawmaker, said as she called for supporters to march in the streets to protest the verdict.