Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski triggered protests after pardoning Alberto Fujimori, a former head of state serving 25 years for human rights violations.
Kuczynski pardoned 79-year-old Fujimori on December 23, as doctors determined that the latter “suffers from a progressive, degenerative and incurable illness and that prison conditions represent a grave risk to his life.”
Fujimori was pardoned with seven other people in “similar conditions,” BBC reported. He was transferred from his cell to a clinic with low blood pressure and palpitations.
The former Japanese-Peruvian president led Peru from 1990 to 2000, seeking refuge in Japan amidst corruption charges. There, he tried to resign from his position, but was rejected by the Congress.
Fujimori exiled himself until 2005 when he was arrested during a visit to Chile. He was extradited to Peru in September 2007.
By April 2009, a three-judge panel convicted him of human rights violations and sentenced him to 25 years in prison. He was found guilty of ordering a military death squad that killed innocent people during his government’s battle against leftist guerrillas, the Washington Post noted.
Fujimori spent a total of 12 years in prison. Following the pardon, angry protesters stormed Lima on Christmas Eve and clashed with local police who reportedly fired tear gas. Three lawmakers also resigned in protest.
Demonstrations continued until Christmas Day, when protesters called for Kucyznski’s resignation and new elections, according to Reuters.
Kucyznski urged the public to accept the decision and “turn the page” already:
“It’s clear his [Fujimori’s] government, which inherited a country submerged in a violent and chaotic crisis at the start of the 1990s, incurred in significant legal transgressions regarding democracy and human rights. But I also think his government contributed to national progress.”
Meanwhile, others claimed that the pardon is all part of a deal that Kucyznski struck with members of the Peruvian Congress, which nearly impeached him on December 21 over a corruption scandal.
The Popular Force (PF) party, led by Fujimori’s daughter Keiko, reportedly controls the Congress. But her brother Kenji split the party’s vote last week, leading to accusations that Kucyznski pardoned their father so he could stay in power.
Kucyznski has since denied the existence of such a deal, but others are not convinced. Marisa Glave, a leftist lawmaker, told a TV channel, “The pardon’s for President Kuczynski, it’s not for Fujimori.”
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