Alberto Fujimori, former president of Peru, was convicted Tuesday of "crimes against humanity" and received a 25 year sentence for his role in murder and kidnappings committed by death squads in the government's campaign against leftist "Shining Path" guerrillas.
Human rights groups call the ruling a precedent-setting verdict that upholds the internationally-recognized principle that violent abuses must not be committed in the name of fighting terrorism. Snip from Washington Post story:
Many people in Peru admire Fujimori for largely defeating the Shining Path insurgency and ending a two-decade war that left about 70,000 people dead. But the tribunal found that Fujimori was guilty of creating and authorizing a military intelligence death squad that killed innocent people.
(...)Fujimori's trial focused on two episodes of killings: a 1991 raid in which 15 people, including an 8-year-old boy, were killed at a barbecue in Lima where the military intelligence unit was looking for Shining Path suspects. This raid, which became known as the Barrios Altos massacre, was followed by the 1992 abduction and killing of nine students and a teacher from La Cantuta University, also by the Colina Group.
Fujimori was also accused of ordering the kidnappings of journalist Gustavo Gorriti and businessman Samuel Dyer in 1992.
One of the arguments Fujimori partisans sometimes offered was that the dead had been terrorists and that their deaths were, therefore, justified. But the tribunal wrote in the summary of the 711-page sentencing document that none of the 25 people killed in the two massacres had been members of the Shining Path.
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