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Fujimori Wants Back in Politics

August 01, 2003|From Associated Press

TOKYO — Defiant in the face of an extradition request, former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori called murder charges against him baseless Thursday and declared his intention to reenter Peruvian politics.

Just hours after Peruvian authorities formally petitioned Japan to deport him, a relaxed and smiling Fujimori said he is "completely innocent."

The former leader, 65, said he would return to Peru someday -- not to stand trial but to head a new political party that he launched this week through supporters there. "Maybe the Peruvian government and Peruvian politicians wouldn't like that Alberto Fujimori may come back by his own will to lead a political organization," the onetime strongman said.

During his 10-year authoritarian presidency, Fujimori was credited with shoring up a broken economy, crushing leftist rebels and attracting foreign investment. But he is accused of doing this through corruption and death squads.

He fled in November 2000 as his government collapsed in a corruption scandal, and was granted Japanese citizenship, shielding him from extradition.

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