Vladimiro Lenin Montesinos faces 57 charges, including connections with drug-trafficking, bribing, tortures and political assassinations
In what has been called by the local media as the "Trial of the Century", the ex spy and presidential advisor Vladimiro Montesinos, appeared in court on Tuesday. The public trial against him comes after courts sentenced Montesinos to nine years in jail last July for abuse of power.
The discovery of a videotape showing Montesinos bribing an opposition congressman in 2000 precipitated the downfall of ex President Alberto Fujimori, currently exiled in Japan. The trial to begin in Lima will hear allegations that Montesinos helped his mistress' brother get out of prison.
720 police officers will be in charge of the security as many fear some kind of reaction from sectors linked to the former President's advisor. In Peru, many believe that Montesinos still holds great power. "The judges are afraid of trying Montesinos", said to AP Ronald Gamarra, a state attorney assigned to the corruption investigations.
Montesinos' background tells something about this.
Vladimiro Lenin Montesinos, named after the Russian Revolutionary Vladimir Illich Ulianov, is not only the former de facto chief of the Peruvian intelligence, Servicio de Inteligencia Nacional (SIN), he was the adviser and, together with the military, the most important power base of President Alberto Fujimori. He was born 57 years ago in Arequipa. He grew up in a bourgeois family, but his parents were communists and therefore named their son after Lenin.
In 1990, as Fujimori rose to power, Montesinos became the president's advisor and mediator in his relations with the SIN and the army. Under the presidency of Fujimori, Montesinos continuously enlarged the SIN's importance and shifted people of confidence into key positions. Especially after Fujimori's "selfcoup" in 1992, allegedly inspired by Montesinos, the SIN became, like the military, a state within the state.
Montesinos is considered the architect of the successful war of the army against the Maoist movement of the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path). But he also collected compromising material on parliament members, journalists and other members of the opposition (and also on Fujimori's followers). He manipulated people, elections and media and, for his fight against the drug lords, he was for years in close contact with the CIA. In early September 2000, a video film shown on television showed Montesinos bribing an oppositional Member of Parliament. This meant the sudden end of his career. Even Fujimori, who had protected Montesinos for years against all accusations and allegations, "suspended" his advisor. Apart from the corruption charges, Human Rights Watch is also after Montesinos and Fujimori for extrajudicial executions, torture and intimidation occurred frequently and systematically covered up. Montesinos was sent to prison, while Fujimori fled to Japan, where Nippon's Government still protects him.
Hernan Etchaleco PRAVDA.Ru Argentina
Document Source: Peruvian Ministry of Interior (www.mininter.gob.pe)