A beaming Alberto Fujimori,
Peru's ex-president, was granted bail on Thursday and left a Chilean jail where
he was held for six months, angering Peruvian officials seeking his extradition.
Chile's Supreme Court set $3,000 bail for Fujimori, 67, detained while Peru
tries to extradite him to face human rights abuse and corruption charges. Under
conditions of the bail, he cannot leave Chile.
Fujimori, who is both revered and reviled in Peru, came to Chile by surprise
in November from Japan, where he lived for five years to avoid prosecution in
Peru after his 1990-2000 government collapsed following a huge corruption
"Obviously I'm happy, satisfied with the decision of the superior court. ...
I'm confident and I'll have patience," a smiling Fujimori, dressed in a dark
suit, told dozens of reporters outside the Prison Guard Academy in Santiago.
He was whisked away to a house rented for him in the upscale Las Condes
neighborhood of the Chilean capital.
A small group of protesters, accusing the former leader of authorizing death
squads to defeat Shining Path rebels, held a banner that read "Fujimori
In Lima, hundreds of people protested against the court's decision outside
the Chilean embassy, shouting "murderer."
Fujimori, of Japanese descent, is accused of stealing $15 million in state
cash and using excessive anti-terrorism measures to crush Shining Path. He
denies any wrongdoing and says he is the victim of political persecution.
Credited with defeating Shining Path and controlling the hyperinflation that
ruined Peru's economy in the 1980s, Fujimori is a hero to poor Peruvians who say
he brought electricity, roads and schools to remote Andean towns.
But lawyers for the Peruvian state say granting him bail was a mistake and
Peru's Justice Minister Alejandro Tudela he did not agree with the Chilean
"This ruling raises the possibility for Fujimori to escape," said Alfredo
Etchberry, a lawyer for the Peruvian government.
Media in Lima reported there were also fears Fujimori could try to take
refuge in the Japanese Embassy in Santiago.
"We don't want to even think about that possibility," Tudela told a news
'NOT A DANGER TO ANYONE'
Fujimori's lawyer Cesar Nakazaki said Peru's government was overreacting.
"Let's not exaggerate. We're talking about a conditional release so that Alberto
Fujimori can face the extradition proceedings in better conditions," Nakazaki
When he arrived in Santiago last year, Fujimori said he had chosen Chile
because its courts are seen as the most impartial in the region. He said he
wanted to use Chile as a base to run for president in Peru, even though he is
banned from holding public office there until 2011.
"I think that this (bail) is obviously of concern because of ... the
resources he has at his disposal and there is clearly a risk that he could jump
bail here," said Sebastian Brett, a researcher with the group Human Rights
In April, while being held in Chile, Fujimori married his wealthy girlfriend,
Japanese businesswoman Satomi Kataoka.
"This is one of the happiest days in a long time for me," Fujimori's daughter
Keiko, elected to Peru's next Congress, told a news conference. "The superior
court's decision reaffirms that my father is not a danger to anyone," she said.