LIMA – Peruvian opposition leader Keiko Fujimori was taken on Thursday to the women’s annex of Lima’s Santa Monica prison, a facility where another former first lady, Nadine Heredia, was held in preventative custody for nine months.
Fujimori was transferred about 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) under tight security from the jail at the Palace of Justice – the seat of Peru’s Supreme Court, where she was held overnight – to one inside the penitentiary in Lima’s Chorrillos district.
Dozens of Fujimori supporters, including some members of Peru’s unicameral legislature, gathered outside the back door of the Palace of Justice before the politician was taken away through that exit by van.
Fujimori likely will be housed in a section of the annex that typically serves as a waiting area for people who have not yet been assigned a cell but which was outfitted to hold Heredia, wife of former President Ollanta Humala, throughout her stay to prevent her from having any contact with other inmates.
Around 300 inmates are housed at the women’s annex of the Chorrillos prison, including a score of people held for terror offenses stemming from the Andean nation’s 1980-2000 internal armed conflict.
Fujimori – head of the right-wing Popular Force party, the biggest in the 130-seat legislature – was arrested on Oct. 11 on charges she instructed party leaders to launder large donations to her presidential campaign in 2011, when she narrowly lost to Humala.
On Wednesday, a judge ordered her to spend three years in jail while awaiting trial.
Those alleged laundered funds may include $1 million in illicit donations that Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht has said it made to Fujimori’s campaign.
Odebrecht and its petrochemical unit, Braskem, reached a settlement in December 2016 with the United States’ Justice Department in which they pleaded guilty to paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to government officials around the world.
The 43-year-old Fujimori – the daughter and erstwhile first lady of former President Alberto Fujimori, who is serving a 25-year sentence for human rights abuses and corruption – denies any wrongdoing and says the charges are politically motivated.
Heredia spent nine months in preventative detention between July 2017 and May 2018 on charges similar to those that Keiko Fujimori faces.
She and Humala remain subjects of a money-laundering probe for allegedly accepting $3 million in illicit funds from Odebrecht during the 2011 campaign cycle.