Keiko Fujimori: the arguments of the Supreme Court to reject her return to preventive detention

Keiko Fujimori: the arguments of the Supreme Court to reject her return to preventive detention

The Permanent Criminal Chamber declared unfounded the appeal with which the prosecutor's office proposed to annul the appeal that revoked the preventive detention. In this way, the leader of Fuerza Popular will continue to face her accusation of money laundering in freedom.

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Keiko Fujimori: the arguments of the Supreme Court to reject his return to pretrial detention

Keiko Fujimori will continue to be prosecuted in freedom | Photo: Julio Reaño/@photo.gec

The Permanent Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court rejected this Thursday a cassation presented by the Public Ministry. The objective of this appeal was to annul the appeal with which, in 2020, the preventive detention that Keiko Fujimori was serving while she was being prosecuted for the case of the alleged illicit contributions to her campaign, known as the 'Cocktails Case', was revoked.

With this decision, Keiko Fujimori will continue to face in freedom the accusation for money laundering, criminal organization and other crimes with which the prosecutor José Domingo Pérez asks for 30 years and 10 months in prison against her. This process is currently in the accusation control stage, in which it will be defined in the coming months if it goes to oral trial.

The resolution focused on the issue that was under controversy: whether Keiko Fujimori's appeal, which managed to get her out of preventive detention, was filed within the legal term or not; and from when this period should be counted. For the judges, yes it was presented in the correct term. The decision did not address or analyze aspects related to the guilt or innocence of the accused, nor to the existence of a flight risk or obstruction.

Thus was the reading of the resolution

Background

A cassation is an extraordinary appeal that is brought before the Supreme Court, the highest seat of the Judiciary, often after one of the parties (defense, prosecution or attorney) is not found to be right in the first or second court instance. As such, it often goes a long way before being resolved.

In the case of Keiko Fujimori and her co-defendants, multiple appeals. Perhaps the best known of them was the one with which the leader of Fuerza Popular sought to annul her first order of 36 months preventive detention. However, it only managed to reduce the term from 36 to 18 months.

This time, the appeal was an initiative of the prosecution and dates back to 2020. On January 28 of that year, Judge Víctor Zúñiga Urday sentenced 15 months in prison preventive against Keiko Fujimori.

The magistrate made this decision after re-evaluating the fiscal request for which, originally, Judge Richard Concepción Carhuancho imposed the same measure against the defendant in 2018 and which was later annulled by the Constitutional Court. Keiko Fujimori, who had been released from prison in November 2019, had to be interned again in a prison.

However, his defense appealed and in the second instance, during the first months of the pandemic, a higher court revoked his preventive detention and imposed a restricted appearance. It is with this regime that the accused former presidential candidate remains free until now.

The fiscal argument

Shortly after Keiko Fujimori's preventive detention was revoked, the superior prosecutor Rafael Vela, coordinator of the Lava Jato special team, filed an appeal against the measure. The argument was that the appeal granted to the defendant's defense had been filed outside the legal period of three days.

Keiko Fujimori: the arguments of the Supreme Court to reject his return to pre-trial detention

Request by prosecutor José Domingo Pérez to annul the appeal granted in the first instance to the defense of Keiko Fujimori.

This situation had already been warned by the prosecutor José Domingo Pérez. In February 2020, the prosecutor asked Judge Víctor Zúñiga to annul his decision to process Keiko Fujimori's appeal on the grounds that it had been filed outside the three-day period after January 28, the day on which he was notified of the decision. in a public hearing.

The appeal had been announced by Giulliana Loza at the end of the hearing on January 28 and was formally submitted in writing on February 3, 2020. The following day, Judge Zúñiga decided to grant the appeal and submit the request to the superior court to Let her see it and solve it. It also rejected the request of the prosecutor José Domingo Pérez to annul the granting of the appeal.

Resolution where it was admitted, by a majority of two against one, the appeal

In the second instance, the appeal was admitted by majority. Two judges considered that it was presented within the legal term, but another argued that it was time-barred. Then, when ruling on the merits of the appeal, they unanimously revoked the preventive detention.

The appeal filed later by the Lava Jato special team collected these arguments and took them to the Supreme Court for a final decision. After a long wait, on September 23, 2021, the Permanent Criminal Chamber granted the appeal and called a hearing to evaluate it.

The hearing was held on June 10 and included the participation of a representative from the prosecutor's office, the prosecutor's office and Keiko Fujimori's legal defense, who argued that the appeal was submitted on time and was valid. At the end of the hearing, it was announced that the appeal resolution was going to be read this Thursday, June 23.

Resolution revoking the Keiko Fujimori's preventive detention

The decision of the Supreme Court

Taking into account what is established in the Penal Code and its own jurisprudence, the Supreme Court indicated in its resolution this Thursday that the decision on preventive detention is an “eminently oral” act that is read in court and must be transcribed in a record, at least in the most relevant aspects.

“It must be understood that the notification must materialize, either with the delivery of the physical resolution of the record in which the main grounds that solve the decision are stated, or the electronic submission of the virtual resolution,” they affirmed. The purpose is that the parties, the defense and the prosecution, can review these grounds before filing an appeal.

In the specific case of the preventive detention of Keiko Fujimori, it was noted that the court does not have a record of notification or of charges for the delivery of audio or video, either from the judge's resolution or from a record that collects his arguments. In addition, it was taken into account that attorney Loza indicated that she was only notified of the transcript of the resolution on February 6, after having filed her appeal.

Hearing where the appeal was discussed

On the other hand, the Supreme Court indicated that just as the judge's decision was announced orally, Keiko Fujimori's defense announced her appeal to the measure in the same way. And although it is recognized that he was given the video of the hearing in order to review it, they recalled that “none of the documents were given to him.”

In this way, the supreme judges considered that the term of the days to appeal should be counted from the moment the parties receive the aforementioned documents.

It is sum, for the Supreme Court the judge notified his decision orally on January 28, 2020 and that same day, Keiko Fujimori's defense appealed orally. The defense then filed their appeal in writing on February 3; while the court only notified him of the preventive detention order in writing on February 6.

Consequently, the Special Criminal Chamber of The Supreme Court concluded that the appeal by Keiko Fujimori's defense was “oralized within the legal term” and that “the cause of cassation is not established”, for which they declared the appeal unfounded.