Peru ex-spy chief request his immediate transfer to a hospital to treat heart problems and hypertension

The lawyer for Peru's ex-intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos argued yesterday that a schedule of up to four trials a day was destroying her client's health and requested his immediate transfer to a hospital to treat heart problems and hypertension.

The anti-corruption tribunal, led by Judge Denise Baca, denied attorney Estela Valdivia's transfer request but did order a medical exam for Montesinos, to take place inside the maximum security naval base prison where he has been held for the last four years, a court spokesman said.

Montesinos, 60, is serving a 15-year prison sentence for various corruption convictions, and faces daily trials on dozens of other charges, ranging from influence peddling and illegal arms dealing to drug trafficking and directing a paramilitary death squad.

Montesinos was the behind-the-scenes power broker for former President Alberto Fujimori, whose 10-year, autocratic regime collapsed in 2000 amid corruption scandals spawned by the intelligence chief.

Montesinos was captured in 2001 in Venezuela. Fujimori fled in November 2000 to Japan, where he remains fighting extradition and planning his political comeback.

Montesinos has complained about health problems before, including high blood pressure and depression. A medical evaluation in 2004 determined that he was fit physically and mentally to withstand the rigors of daily court appearances reported AP.

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