Pubdate: Mon, 27 Jan 2003
Source: Associated Press (Wire)
Copyright: 2003 Associated Press


LIMA -- A court has sentenced Peru's former attorney general - for years 
accused of protecting once-feared intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos - 
to 10 years in prison on corruption charges.

In addition to the prison term, delivered late Thursday, the criminal court 
fined former Attorney General Nelida Colan the equivalent of $570,000.

The court found Colan guilty of crimes related to receiving $10,000 a month 
from Montesinos, failing to show how she paid for a $750,000 house and 
shelving an investigation into a bribery case involving the ex-spy boss.

The bribery scandal - sparked by a secret videotape showing Montesinos 
apparently paying an opposition congressman $15,000 to join the 
government's ruling bloc -triggered the downfall of former President 
Alberto Fujimori's decade-long regime in 2000.

Colan, once considered a close Montesinos ally, is accused of having 
quashed or shelved several criminal investigations aimed at the former 
intelligence chief.

In 1996, Colan ignored testimony from a high-profile cocaine trafficker 
that he had paid Montesinos $50,000 a month in exchange for use of a jungle 
air strip to ferry out shipments of raw cocaine.

Colan, who was arrested in July 2001, said that she is innocent of the 
charges and that she will appeal the decision to Peru's Supreme Court.

Fujimori fled to Japan in 2000. He is wanted on corruption charges by 
Peruvian authorities but is protected from extradition by Japanese citizenship.

Montesinos is in a maximum security prison facing dozens of charges 
including influence peddling, drug trafficking and human rights abuses.
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