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  HOME | Peru

Peruvian President Loses Allies over Fujimori Pardon

LIMA – The repercussions of Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski’s Christmas Eve pardon for disgraced former head of state Alberto Fujimori continued to be felt on Tuesday as allies distanced themselves from the incumbent and human rights organizations explored ways to send Fujimori back to prison.

The head of the human rights division of the Justice Ministry, Roger Rodriguez; and two members of Peru’s High-Level Commission on Peace, Reparation and Reconciliation, Daniel Sanchez and Katherine Valenzuela, announced they were leaving the administration.

Their resignation letters were published in Lima daily La Republica.

Fujimori “did not qualify for the granting of a humanitarian pardon,” Rodriguez wrote, while Sanchez said he would find it “shameful” to represent the government in discussions with victims of Fujimori, who was sentenced to 25 years behind bars for massacres and other crimes committed during his 1990-2000 tenure.

Lawmaker Alberto de Belaunde resigned Tuesday from Kuczynski’s PPK party and two other members, Vicente Zeballos and Gino Costa, are expected to follow suit in the coming days amid continuing street protests over the pardon.

On another front, the human rights organization Aprodeh asked the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to require the Peruvian government to provide information on the pardon and to hold a public hearing on the matter.

Aprodeh made the request on behalf of families of the nine students and a professor who were “disappeared” followed a 1992 raid on Lima’s La Cantuta University by the covert military unit Colina, one of the crimes for which Fujimori was sentenced to prison in 2009.

Kuczynski signed the pardon just three days after he avoided impeachment thanks to the votes of 10 opposition lawmakers led by Kenji Fujimori, Alberto’s son, prompting many to suspect that political machinations were at work in the decision.

Kuczynski became president by defeating Keiko Fujimori – Kenji’s older sister – in a 2016 runoff. During the campaign, he vowed not to pardon Alberto Fujimori.

The Commission on Presidential Clemency concluded that Fujimori was suffering from a “progressive, degenerative and incurable disease” likely to be aggravated by the conditions in prison.

But according to legislator Indira Huilca, Fujimori enjoyed comfortable conditions in prison.

Huilca, a member of the leftist New Peru party, spoke out after she and congressional colleague Marisa Glave visited the prison where Fujimori was held.

The former president’s quarters were equipped with an adjustable orthopedic bed, an oxygen tank, television, telephone, kitchen and library, Huilca told EFE.

Alberto Fujimori’s government collapsed in Fall 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, the president 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.


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