Chile High Court Frees Fujimori on Bail

A Chilean Supreme Court panel freed former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori on bail Thursday while he fights extradition on corruption and human rights charges.

The justices voted 4-1 to allow the former authoritarian leader to go free, but they prohibited him from leaving Chile, said the president of the court panel, Enrique Curi.

Fujimori arrived in Chile in November from Tokyo, saying he was ending five years of exile in Japan in order to run in Peru's presidential elections.

But he was arrested upon arrival after the Peruvian government requested his extradition.

Curi said the bail amount would be determined by the judge handling the extradition trial, and Fujimori could be freed later Thursday.

Fujimori failed in two previous attempts to gain freedom on bail after the court said he was "a danger to society." Lawyers for the Peruvian government argued that the 67-year-old former president would attempt to flee the country if freed.

Peru so far has filed 12 formal charges against Fujimori, including sanctioning a paramilitary death squad accused of murdering 25 people, illegal phone tapping, diverting public funds to the intelligence service, bribing legislators and transferring $15 million to his spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos.

Fujimori has called the charges against him an effort to block his political comeback.

He resigned the presidency via fax from Tokyo in 2000 amid a growing corruption scandal. He is the son of Japanese immigrants and holds Peruvian and Japanese citizenship.