Arrest order issued for Peruvian president's nephew accused of rape

A court issued an arrest warrant Friday for one of President Alejandro Toledo's nephews after he skipped a court appearance to hear the verdict on charges he drugged a woman last year and raped her in a hotel, officials said.

The criminal court tribunal, led by Judge Carlos Morales, rejected a defense attorney's argument that Miguel Toledo, 34, was unable to attend court because of an ear infection, court spokesman Guillermo Gonzales.

Prosecutors are seeking a six-year prison sentence. Miguel Toledo and three other men are accused of luring a 22-year-old woman to a restaurant in March 2004 to discuss a job offer. Instead, they allegedly drugged her and took her to a cheap hotel where she was raped.

Miguel Toledo denies drugging the woman and has said there was a sexual encounter, but that it was consensual.

Toledo, who took office in July 2001 and has eight months left on his term, has been plagued by scandals surrounding his top advisers, Cabinet and members of his family.

The president's sister, Margarita, has been under house arrest since January on charges that she oversaw a scheme to forge petition signatures to get his Peru Possible political party on the ballot in 2000, AP reported. V.A.

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