LIMA - Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori filed an appeal on Thursday in a bid to overturn his conviction on human rights crimes as his daughter prepares her own presidential bid.
Peru's Supreme Court earlier this month found Fujimori guilty of ordering two massacres and sentenced the former leader to 25 years in prison, marking the first time a democratically elected Latin American president was condemned in his own country for such abuses.
Fujimori, 70, has consistently said he is innocent of crimes committed during his 1990-2000 rule, when Peru was battling Maoist guerrillas.
In this appeal, we are asking first, that the sentence be struck down and alternatively, that President Fujimori be absolved, Fujimori's lawyer, Cesar Nakazaki, told reporters at Peru's main justice building in Lima, the capital.
He did not rule out appealing the decision to the Inter-American Court on Human Rights if Peru's Supreme Court rejects his appeal.
Fujimori's daughter, Keiko Fujimori, is a popular lawmaker and a front-runner ahead of the presidential election in 2011. A supporter of free trade, she would face rivals including leftist Ollanta Humala, who nearly won the 2006 race.
If elected, Fujimori has said she would like to pardon her father, who was once wildly popular and still enjoys support among some Peruvians.
The elder Fujimori is credited with taming the country's chaotic economy and ending its civil war in the 1990s, but his critics say he stomped on human rights to do it.