March 3, 2008 [LINK / comment]

Fujimori accuser recants

At the continuing trial of Peru's former president Alberto Fujimori, who is accused of corruption and human rights abuses, a former army major named Santiago Martin Rivas has changed his story. He now says Fujimori never gave orders to have suspected subversives killed, and also denies that the infamous "Colina" death squad even existed. That group is believed to have been responsible for the deaths or disappearances of dozens of Peruvians during the 1990s. Many Peruvians refuse to believe Rivas, who is currently serving a 20-year jail sentence for his involvement in the killings. See BBC. It may be that someone has put pressure on Rivas to change his story, or that someone had previously put pressure on him before to "finger" the former president. In any case, the testimony by Rivas may make it harder to get a conviction of Fujimori, who has already been found guilty of ordering an illegal search; see December 12. This latest development has caused a sensation in the Peruvian press, which is mostly anti-Fujimori these days.