Peru’s president has pardoned his ailing predecessor Alberto Fujimori from serving a 25-year sentence for crimes against humanity and corruption.
In a written statement late Sunday, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said that he decided to release Fujimori, 79, for “humanitarian reasons” as he has “a progressive, degenerative and incurable disease.”
On Saturday, Fujimori was rushed to the hospital following a sharp drop in blood pressure and heart arrhythmia.
Human rights activists protested the pardon, which cannot be appealed.
The Christmas Eve pardon was also met with street protests and condemnation from some lawmakers, who questioned whether there was a political deal behind what current President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’s office described as a humanitarian gesture.
Fujimori served as Peruvian president from 1990 until 2000 when he fled to Japan, his parents birthplace, amid accusations of that he approved extra-judicial killings against member of the leftist revolutionary group, the Shining Path. He was also accused of financial corruption and ordering illegal acts, including search-and-seizures at the homes and businesses of political opponents. He was arrested in Chile in 2005 and extradited to Peru to face a variety of charges, including crimes against humanity. He has been in prison since 2007.
Peruvian law provides that no person convicted of murder or kidnapping can receive a presidential pardon except in the case of a terminal illness. Three previous requests from Fujimori for pardons since 2013 were rejected after doctors said he did not suffer from incurable illness or severe mental disorder
At least two ministers in Kuczynski’s cabinet who objected to the pardon told him they would resign over the pardon.
Kuczynski’s pardon of Fujimori comes less than a week after the current president survived an impeachment hearing stemming from a corruption scandal that has swept Latin America.
Critics of Kuczynski’s decision to pardon Fujimori protested at Plaza San Martin, just a few blocks away from the presidential palace in Lima. The protesters clashed with police officers, who fired tear gas to disperse the crowd, the state-run Andina news agency reported.
Source: Santiago Times, http://santiagotimes.cl