Former Peru president sentenced to 6 years in prison for abuse of authority

.LIMA, Peru (AP) – A Supreme Court judge convicted former President Alberto Fujimori of abuse of authority and sentenced him to six years in prison Tuesday in the first criminal conviction for Fujimori, who also faces human rights and corruption charges.

Supreme Court Justice Pedro Guillermo Urbina declared Fujimori guilty of abusing his power for ordering an illegal search as his government imploded in scandal seven years ago. He also fined Fujimori the equivalent of $134,900.

The former president was convicted of having a military aide pose as a prosecutor and search without a warrant the luxury apartment of the wife of his spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos in November 2000.

It was the first prison sentence handed down for Fujimori, 69, who ruled Peru from 1990 to 2000, before fleeing to Japan, his ancestral homeland, as his government collapsed. He faces three other trials on charges that include murder, kidnapping and corruption.

Fujimori showed little emotion during the hearing. After the sentence was read, he consulted quickly with his defense lawyer and then addressed the judge, saying he was appealing “partially” the sentence and the fine.

His daughter Keiko, a congresswoman for his party, attacked the ruling as she left the courtroom.

“This is really an unfair sentence,” she said. “Before, it was a political persecution. Now it’s a judicial persecution. Like 90 percent of the Peruvian people, I don’t trust the judicial system.”

On Monday, an indignant Fujimori shouted his innocence and waved his arms in outrage as he went on trial in a separate case on charges he authorized an army death squad to kill leftist rebels and collaborators. He faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted for his alleged role in the killings, which came amid a government crackdown on a bloody Maoist insurgency.

“I received a country … almost in collapse, exhausted by hyperinflation, international financial isolation and widespread terrorism,” he said, his voice cracking with emotion.

“My government rescued the human rights of 25 million Peruvians with no exceptions. If any detestable acts were committed, I condemn them, but they were not done on my orders,” he shouted angrily as the head of the three-judge panel called him to order.