April 8, 2009 in Nation/World

Fujimori convicted in rights case

 
Associated Press photo

Peru’s former President Alberto Fujimori leaves the courtroom after the reading of his verdict in Lima on Tuesday.
(Full-size photo)

LIMA, Peru – Former President Alberto Fujimori of Peru was found guilty of mass murder and kidnapping Tuesday and sentenced to 25 years in prison, in a rare instance of a former head of state being found guilty in his own country on human-rights charges.

The 70-year-old former agronomy professor, who during a decade in office brought Peru back from the brink of political and economic collapse, was found guilty of ordering massacres at the Barrios Altos area of Lima in 1991 and La Cantuta University in 1992 that left 25 dead. He also was convicted of the 1992 kidnappings of a journalist and businessman.

The massacres were carried out by the Colina secret police unit that allegedly acted as a death squad. Fujimori maintained in emotional testimony last week that he was unaware of the group’s activities and that it was under the command of disgraced spy master Vladimiro Montesinos. But the court found there was “no doubt” Fujimori authorized the creation of the unit.

L’Aquila, Italy

Aftershocks give residents jitters

Strong aftershocks Tuesday sent a fresh wave of fear across earthquake-shattered central Italy, and rescue crews pulled a young woman alive from a collapsed building about 42 hours after the main quake struck the mountainous region.

Eleonora Calesini, a 20-year-old student, was found alive in the ruins of the five-story building in central L’Aquila, said her grandfather, Renato Calesini, in the seaside town of Mondaini.

“She’s safe!” he told the Associated Press, adding that her father had gone to the devastated city in the snowcapped Apennine mountains to try to locate the student, who wears a hearing aid.

The death toll from Italy’s worst earthquake in three decades climbed to 235, with the bodies taken to a makeshift morgue in a hangar at a police officer’s training school, the ANSA news agency reported. The dead included four students trapped in the rubble of a dormitory of the University of L’Aquila, ANSA said.

Rescue crews gave up gingerly removing debris by hand and brought in huge pincers that pulled off parts of the dorm roof, balconies and walls, showering debris down.

“Unless there is a miracle, I’ve been told (by rescuers) that they probably are dead,” university rector Ferdinando Di Orio said.

From wire reports


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