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Peru's Fujimori gets 6 years prison for bribes

LIMA (Reuters) - Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison on Wednesday for wiretapping opponents and paying bribes to lawmakers and publishers during his rule from 1990 to 2000.

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Fujimori, 71, is already serving a 25-year sentence for human rights crimes. He will likely spend the rest of his life in jail, unless he receives a presidential pardon.

He pleaded guilty on Monday to illegally intercepting phone calls and bribing people to cut short a Supreme Court trial in which 60 prominent Peruvians were going to be called to testify against him.

Critics said he wanted to avoid publicity that could embarrass him and his daughter, Keiko Fujimori, a popular conservative lawmaker who is a frontrunner in the 2011 presidential race.

His daughter has said that if elected she would grant her father a pardon.

Fujimori was widely credited with defeating the leftist Shining Path insurgency in a bloody civil war and taming economic chaos before his government collapsed in a cloud of corruption in 2000 and he fled to Japan, where his parents were born.

He originally set up a vast spy network to battle the Shining Path but later began abusing it for political advantage.

In the trial, the last of four Fujimori has faced since being extradited from Chile in 2007, prosecutors said he wiretapped or bribed people who were influential in Congress and the media to shore up his party’s support base or win favorable editorial coverage for his government.

Fujimori said he would appeal the decision.

He was previously convicted and sentenced in three other trials, including one for ordering a death squad to carry out two massacres of suspected leftists. Fujimori will serve the terms concurrently.

The rights case was rare example of a former head of state being put on trial in his own country for crimes against humanity and could set a precedent for similar trials in Peru and elsewhere.

While in exile, Fujimori, who sees himself as a kind of savior of Peru, later left Japan and went to Chile, apparently to mount a political comeback in South America.

Reporting by Terry Wade and Marco Aquino; Editing by Bill Trott