Crime & Justice

Peruvian court orders Alberto Fujimori released from prison

Lima, Mar 17 (EFE).- Peru’s Constitutional Court on Thursday reinstated a pardon for former President Alberto Fujimori, now serving a 25-year prison sentence for extrajudicial killings amid his government’s effort in the 1990s to crush the Shining Path guerrilla group, a human rights lawyer told Efe.

“Regrettably, we can confirm this information,” Carlos Rivera said.

Thursday’s decision effectively overturned 2018 Supreme Court rulings that invalidated the pardon bestowed on Fujimori in December 2017 by then-President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, the attorney said.

Rivera represents families of people killed on Fujimori’s orders by Grupo Colina, an army death squad.

One of the six members of the Constitutional Court, Eloy Espinosa, told Canal N television that the judges were evenly divided on whether to grant the motion reinstating the pardon.

Those favoring the motion included the court’s president, Augusto Ferrero, who used his statutory “double vote” to break the deadlock, Espinosa said.

Ferrero, according to Espinosa, argued that the pardon was justified on humanitarian grounds because of the former president’s health problems, while the opponents noted that Fujimori enjoys full access to medical care.

Fujimori was taken back to prison on Monday after several days spent at a Lima hospital receiving treatment for a heart ailment.

The former president could be released within hours, Rivera said, describing the prospect as “absurd.”

“What they are doing is to go against the express text of the judiciary verdict, the Inter-American Court (of human rights), and the rights of the victims,” he said.

Kuczynski announced the pardon for the former president just three days after he avoided impeachment thanks to the votes of 10 opposition lawmakers led by Kenji Fujimori, Alberto’s son.

Peru’s Supreme Court, however, overturned the pardon and ordered Fujimori back to prison in October 2018.

Alberto Fujimori’s government collapsed in 2000 amid a burgeoning corruption scandal involving spy chief and top adviser Vladimiro Montesinos.

When the dismissal of Montesinos failed to appease public outrage, Fujimori fled Peru for Japan, from where he faxed his resignation as president.

Tokyo granted Fujimori asylum by virtue of the Japanese citizenship his emigrant parents obtained for him at the time of his birth in Peru. Had Peruvian authorities known of his dual citizenship, he would never have been allowed to run for president.

Although he was safe from extradition in Japan, Fujimori traveled to Chile unexpectedly on Nov. 6, 2005, apparently with hopes of returning to Peru to compete in the 2006 presidential election.

But Chilean authorities promptly arrested him on an Interpol warrant and he was ultimately turned over to Peru.

Fujimori was convicted in 2009 on charges ranging from corruption to crimes against humanity. EFE csr-pbc/dr

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