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Daughter to pardon Fujimori if elected

The guilty verdict and 25-year sentence imposed on former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori for death-squad killings and disappearances during his 1990s rule have thrust his daughter Keiko into the spotlight.

The 33-year-old congresswoman says people's outrage over Tuesday's "vengeful" verdict will propel her to Peru's presidency in 2011. Then she'll pardon her father.

But many analysts think Keiko Fujimori's appeal is limited and that she could end up becoming a one-issue candidate on a quixotic crusade.

A three-judge Supreme Court panel found her 70-year-old father guilty of 25 murders in two operations by a military assassination team it said was created to fight the terror of the Shining Path insurgency with state-organized terror.

None of the victims, it said, was connected to any insurgency.

Presiding judge Cesar San Martin said there was no question Fujimori authorized the creation of the Colina unit, which the court said killed at least 50 people. Fully accepting prosecutors' arguments, the judges gave Fujimori just five years less than the maximum sentence.

It didn't matter that the disgraced strongman was widely credited for having rescued Peru from the brink of economic and political collapse after winning office in 1990 as a political unknown.

While victims' relatives sobbed, Fujimori supporters groaned in exasperation as the verdict was read in the courtroom on the police base where the former president has been held since his 2007 extradition from Chile.

Keiko, a graduate of Columbia University in New York who had served as Peru's first lady for a time after her parents divorced, called the conviction foreordained and "full of hate and vengeance."


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