February 22, 1999

Exiled former president says he won't return fearing persecution

                  LIMA, Peru (AP) -- An exiled former leader said Monday he will not return
                  to Peru, charging that its justice system is a "political dagger" used by
                  President Alberto Fujimori against his opponents.

                  Alan Garcia ruled Peru from 1985 to 1990, but fled to Colombia in 1992
                  after Fujimori's "self-coup" shut down Peru's Congress and judiciary, firing
                  hostile judges and legislators.

                  Fujimori named new judges who restarted stalled corruption charges against
                  Garcia arising from his time as president. An arrest warrant was issued and
                  Garcia fears reprisal if he returns.

                  "The judicial system created after the 1992 coup d'etat is not a system of
                  justice but a political dagger, with special laws and judges which have
                  destroyed many opponents" of Fujimori, Garcia said in an interview with
                  local radio station, Radioprogramas.

                  A week ago, Garcia gave his first televised interview after seven years in
                  exile, raising speculation of a possible return to Peru.

                  Garcia, 49, has said he plans to run for a seat in Peru's Congress in general
                  elections in 2000 from exile. Peru's National Elections Board must still
                  decide if it will accept his candidacy.

                  When Garcia left office, Peru's economy had collapsed, its foreign reserves
                  had disappeared, annual inflation topped 7,000 percent and allegations of
                  government corruption were rampant.