Peru’s divisive opposition leader Keiko Fujimori has been sent back to prison. This comes just after a judge ruled she should serve three years ahead of a corruption trial.
The former, first daughter allegedly ran a money laundering scheme for her party.
CGTN’s Dan Collyns filed this report from Lima.
After a week-long hearing and a ruling lasting eight hours, Judge Richard Concepcion Carhuancho handed three years in jail to Peru’s most powerful opposition leader. He said there was a risk Keiko Fujimori could flee while prosecutors investigate claims she ran a ‘criminal organization’ within her political party.
Fujimori said goodbye to her American husband, Mark Vito, before she was led away by police officers. Outside the court in Lima, Vito said they would keep fighting.
“This is not justice, it’s cruel, totally arbitrary and inhuman,” he said. “But I swear that from this day on the pain I feel and the tears of my daughters will be our gasoline to keep going.”
Fujimori’s supporters rallied outside the court, clashing at times with her detractors. Despite this support, her popularity has plummeted, as recent scandals linking her party leadership to corrupt judges and underhanded politics sparked demonstrations.
Prosecutors claim Fujimori took more than $1 million from corruption-plagued Brazilian firm Odebrecht for her 2011 election campaign. She has consistently denied any wrongdoing, claiming she’s a victim of political persecution, She’s expected to appeal Wednesday’s ruling.
“The Popular Force party nor myself have ever received any donations from Odebrecht, nor any Brazilian company. I don’t know Mr. Odebrecht,” Fujimori said.
Recent leaks revealing an online chat within her political party were particularly damning. Lawmakers discussed how to intimidate Jos Domingo Perez, the prosecutor investigating Fujimori, and insulted Peru’s president Marin Vizcarra.
The tables have turned for Keiko Fujimori, who only months ago was Peru’s most powerful politician. This comes as public anger over corruption in politics and the judiciary reaches a tipping point. President Vizcarra has gained popularity by calling a referendum to strengthen anti-corruption laws for next month.