translated from Spanish: Court orders release of Keiko Fujimori amid COVID-19 epidemic

The leader of the Peruvian opposition party Popular Force, Keiko Fujimori, will leave Lima prison in which he is on pre-trial detention for 15 months, after a court declared the appeal filed by his defense well founded.
The information was confirmed on Thursday by Fujimori’s lawyer, Giulliana Loza, who stated that the release of imprisonment will be finalized when the corresponding administrative procedure is followed, which can occur between Saturday and Monday next.
«We have just been notified that the judiciary has revoked Keiko’s pre-trial detention. Thank God for this opportunity to live and care for his family,» Loza said on Twitter, where he attached an image of the resolute part of the decision made by the Criminal Appeals Chamber Specialized in Organized Crime.
The measure was taken in response to the appeal of the pre-trial detention order issued last January and when Fujimori’s defence had also filed another appeal calling for a cessation of imprisonment for the threat of the COVID-19 epidemic.

In that regard, the resolution ordered Fujimori to continue to appear the alleged money laundering investigation that is still for him to have received illegal money from Brazilian company Odebrecht to finance his election campaigns.
It provides that you must pay an economic guarantee of 70,000 soles (about $20,000) within a maximum period of five business days and imposes restrictions such as not absent from your home and reporting every thirty days to a judicial control office.

The magistrates based their decision on the legal arguments used to send Fujimori to jail, considering that the suspected guilt is not sufficient to issue pre-trial detention and that the Prosecutor’s Office «shows no due diligence to prosecute the defendant in the shortest possible time,» according to the newspaper La República, which had access to the full resolution.
This allegation against the Prosecutor’s Office comes at a time when the special team investigating the Lava Jato case in the country has had to stall much of its diligence and investigations over the COVID-19 epidemic.
Even prosecutor José Domingo Pérez, in charge of investigating Fujimori, criticized the hearing at which Keiko’s defense request was seen on the grounds that the health of the participants in this investigation should be safeguarded.
Prosecutor Rafael Vela, who leads the special team, had filed a request for the court to annul the hearing of the appeal and noted that during the COVID-19 epidemic there are being «opportunistic requests, a malicious procedural use of a cessation mechanism» of pre-trial detention for corruption investigations.
However, the court on Thursday admitted the seriousness of Fujimori’s crime, but said that neither that, nor a possible severe conviction or the possibility of escape, «is sufficient after a certain period» has elapsed» in prison.
For that reason, it considered that the appearance is «adequate enough» to prevent Fujimori from impeding the probative activity of justice, adding that «an unnecessarily burdensome and therefore excessive measure» such as pre-trial detention should be «avoided».
The members of the court also mentioned the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic and assured that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has recommended measures to address overcrowding in the country’s prisons, including the «revaluation of pre-trial detention cases».
Thus, epidemic appears only as a reinforcement to the thesis of liberation, but it is not the central argument that will allow Fujimori’s liberation.
The policy publicly requested this week that COVID-19 tests be carried out in the penal of Mujeres de Lima, where there is also the former leftist mayor of Lima Susana Villarán, among other measures to protect prisoners in Peru’s overcrowded criminals.
Precisely on Thursday, the Criminal Anti-Corruption Chamber agreed that Villarán will leave the prison where he is serving 24 months in pre-trial detention while being investigated for alleged corruption, but in his case to comply with house arrest.
Although a judge had last week refused her request for release, the Anti-Corruption Chamber accepted an appeal for reconsideration for the serious risk of contracting COVID-19 in prison for the former mayor, who is 70 years old and has several diseases, including lupus, which weakens the immune system.
The situation in the country’s overcrowded prisons is among the main concerns of specialists, with some 500 infected prisoners reported so far and around a dozen dead, as have more than 100 infected prison workers and three deaths.
So far, the virus has left more than 36,976 infected and 1,051 killed in Peru.

Original source in Spanish

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