Peru's opposition leader Fujimori released from prison

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Peruvian politician Keiko Fujimori wears a face mask -- against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus -- while leaving Santa Monica jail in Lima on May 04, 2020

Peru's opposition leader Keiko Fujimori was released on Monday from pre-trial detention on corruption charges after just three months, an AFP reporter witnessed.

Fujimori left the woman's prison in the capital Lima on bail wearing a face mask and white gloves. She had earlier announced on Twitter that she would head straight from the facility to take a coronavirus test.

The 44-year-old's release came four days after a court granted her bail of 70,000 soles ($20,000).

Fujimori, a mother of two, had asked to be released due to fears she might contract the novel coronavirus in the Chorrillos women's jail, but the court granted her release based on a separate appeal.

At her home later, a worker from a private laboratory carried out the COVID-19 tests.

In a video posted to Facebook, Fujimori said that beyond the joy she felt at returning home, she wanted to tell authorities that the situation in Peruvian prisons is "untenable".

"I beg them to alleviate the terrible overcrowding that, in the midst of the pandemic, is a death penalty," she said.

- Odebrecht scandal -

She was jailed in January just two months after being released from a previous 13-month pre-trial detention.

Once Peru's most popular politician, Fujimori is accused of accepting $1.2 million in illicit party funding from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht for her unsuccessful 2011 presidential election campaign.

"Keiko will continue to face this investigation. She's the one who most wants this to be clarified," her lawyer Guilliana Loza said at the weekend.

Attorney General Rafael Vela, who is co-ordinating the team investigating the Odebrecht scandal, said on Saturday he would appeal the release.

Odebrecht is embroiled in a wide-ranging corruption scandal and has admitted to paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to win contracts in 12 countries.

At least $29 million was paid to Peruvian officials from 2004, including to bribe four former presidents, the company has said.

Alejandro Toledo, Ollanta Humala, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and the late Alan Garcia have been implicated in the scandal.

She has been barred from living in the same house as her American husband Mark Villanella as he is under investigation in the same case.

Villanella announced on social media that he and the couple's two daughters were staying with Fujimori's mother, Susana Higuchi.

"We've decided that until we have the test results, I won't be able to join my daughters," Fujimori had said on Twitter.

Fujimori is the daughter of disgraced former president Alberto Fujimori, 81, who is serving a 25-year jail sentence for ordering two massacres by death squads in 1991 and 1992.