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Police capture Argentine fugitive who created a web page to defame journalists and politicians opposed to former president Fujimori

(IPYS/IFEX) - On Friday 30 November 2001 at 6:00 a.m. (local time), Argentine citizen Héctor Ricardo Faisal Fracalossi was captured by the Peruvian division of INTERPOL. Faisal, who fled from justice in Argentina, was wanted for having allegedly threatened and coerced his wife Ana Rolon and her lawyer, Carlos Ves Lozada.

In November 1998, Faisal created a web page, under the name of the Association for the Defence of the Truth (Asociacion Pro Defensa de la Verdad, APRODEV). He used the site to defame independent journalists, opposition politicians and other critics of Alberto Fujimori's government. The web page was first anonymous, but in April 1999 it was discovered that Faisal was the organisation's legal representative in Peru.

Subsequent journalistic investigations revealed that this individual was linked to former National Intelligence Service (Servicio de Inteligencia Nacional, SIN) advisor Vladimiro Montesinos Torres. Investigations also suggested that Montesinos protected Faisal so that he could carry out his activities with guaranteed impunity.

This impunity became apparent when in June 1999, Argentine judges who became aware that Faisal was in Peru requested that he be extradited to Argentina for a number of crimes. Their request was rejected by Judge Elizabeth Grossman Casas, who argued that there was no proof that APRODEV's promoter was living in Peru, when the press had reported that he was living in a military compound. Subsequently, Judge Grossman's ruling was upheld by the Supreme Court's Second Criminal Chamber, presided by Judge Carlos Saponara Milligan. Judge Saponara rejected the Argentine court's appeal despite the fact that the Peruvian government officially recognised that Faisal was a fugitive from justice in his country.

The Peruvian courts also rejected a number of complaints supported by IPYS and presented in April 1999 by then director of the newspaper "La República", Gustavo Mohme Llona, journalists Edmundo Cruz, Ángel Páez, Cecilia Valenzuela, Luis Iberico and Fernando Rospigliosi, and from exile, the owner of Frecuencia Latina - Canal 2 television station, Baruch Ivcher Bronstein.

Faisal was facing an order for his capture in Peru, issued on 6 August 2001 by Judge Luis Ortiz Yumpo, head of the 27th Lima Criminal Court, in response to the 41st Buenos Aires Criminal Court's call for his arrest. In addition, the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office in Peru, which is investigating Montesinos, issued an order for Faisal's arrest for the crime of unlawfully associating with another individual to commit an offence.

Montesinos' former collaborator and friend was located and captured in a residence on Lot 16, Section K of the El Álamo settlement, Santa Rosa district, in Callao. He was taken to the legal authority's holding cell, where he spent the weekend, before being transferred to the San Jorge prison.

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