Peru's new interior minister sworn in amid judge scandal

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Lima (AFP)

President Martin Vizcarra swore in a retired police general as Peru's new interior minister Friday to replace Mauro Medina, who resigned after a fugitive supreme court judge fled to Spain.

Carlos Moran took the oath of office in a brief ceremony at the government headquarters as Vizcarra sought to cap a difficult week for his fledgling government.

Medina resigned late Wednesday after it emerged that a fugitive supreme court judge, Cesar Hinostroza -- awaiting trial in a cash-for-leniency scandal embroiling Peru's judiciary -- had slipped out of the country and fled to Spain.

"This is an embarrassing situation for the country," his Prime Minister Cesar Villanueva admitted in a statement to Congress about the judge's escape.

Hinostroza was sacked by Congress a fortnight ago and was awaiting trial for leading a criminal group inside the country's judiciary.

Vizcarra -- who has made fighting corruption his priority since taking office in March -- announced earlier Friday that Spain had placed Hinostroza in detention and was preparing his extradition.

Moran, the new minister, was a member of a special police unit that captured the leader of the Shining Path guerrillas in 1992.