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Peru Congress suspends 2 Fujimori loyalists

LIMA, Peru (Reuters) -- Peru's Congress has voted to suspend two recently re-elected lawmakers long loyal to disgraced former President Alberto Fujimori, officials said.

In a session that stretched late into Thursday night, 65 of Peru's 120 legislators voted to remove Luz Salgado and Carmen Lozada of Fujimori's New Majority-Change '90 party for their entire five-year term for alleged improper support of the ousted president's bid for an unprecedented third term.

"A legislative minority has just been eliminated. It's a political persecution against those who support Fujimori," Lozada, who denied committing any crime, told reporters.

Both legislators, re-elected in April, were seen in a secretly taped 1998 video, along with other former lawmakers, with jailed ex-spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos, who allegedly manipulated Congress, courts, the media and military for a decade under Fujimori with bribes.

In the video, the group discussed how Fujimori, whom Peru is pushing to extradite, could secure a third term. He won that third term in May 2000 in a vote widely called fraudulent, but he fled to Japan months later amid a corruption scandal triggered by Montesinos.

It is the first time Peru's Congress has taken such a measure. One legislator voted against the move, three abstained, and the rest were not present.

Lozada and Salgado said they would go to the Inter-American Human Rights Court to protest their removal.

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