LIMA (Reuters) – Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, in jail for human rights abuses, was handed a new eight-year prison sentence on Thursday for siphoning public funds to help finance his re-election in 2000.
A panel of judges in Lima ruled that Fujimori, 76, diverted funds from the military to pay for favourable coverage in tabloid newspapers to promote his bid for a second presidential term.
Fujimori has been imprisoned since 2007 for crimes committed during his 1990-2000 term. In 2009, he was sentenced to 25 years for ordering death squads to carry out massacres that killed 25 people during a crackdown on leftist insurgents.
The new sentence, however, will not prolong the time Fujimori spends behind bars because jail terms in the Andean country are served concurrently and not consecutively. Fujimori had denied the accusation that he embezzled funds.
But it will be a blow to his political party and the political ambitions of his eldest daughter, Keiko, who is widely viewed as a likely candidate in next year’s presidential election.
“Today is not a good day for us,” said Keiko Fujimori who attended the trial.
Prosecutors had alleged the former president gave permission for 122 million Peruvian soles ($41 million) from the military’s budget to be diverted to the secret intelligence service.
Vladimiro Montesinos, the intelligence agency’s then chief and Fujimori’s former right-hand man, paid the tabloids $2,000 to $3,000 for every headline that attacked the opposition, prosecutors said.
Fujimori, who is serving his sentence at a police base in Lima, has repeatedly said that his incarceration is tantamount to a slow death behind bars.