Peru′s Alberto Fujimori apologizes after controversial pardon | News | DW | 26.12.2017
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Peru's Alberto Fujimori apologizes after controversial pardon

Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori has asked those he wronged to "forgive" him. His pardon on medical grounds has prompted protests and anger at President Kuczynski.

Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori issued a public apology for abuses committed under his rule in the 1990s, two days after he received a presidential pardon that triggered protests.

"I am aware that the results of my government were well received on one side, but I admit that I have let down other compatriots, and I ask them to forgive me with all my heart," Fujimori said in a Facebook video message from a hospital bed.

The 79-year-old also thanked President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski for granting him a pardon after serving less than half of a 25 year prison sentence for human rights abuses and corruption.

Fujimori had never apologized before, even maintaining his innocence during sentencing.

A statement from Kuczynski's office on Sunday said the Christmas Eve pardon was issued on humanitarian grounds.

Fujimori "suffers from a progressive, degenerative and incurable disease and prison conditions mean a serious risk to his life, health and well-being," it said.

Doctors say the aging president has arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat.

Protesters in Lima hold photographes of people disappeared during Alberto Fujimori's rule.

Protesters in Lima hold photographes of people disappeared during Alberto Fujimori's rule.

Why is the pardon controversial?

Some Peruvians support the former strongman, who governed from 1990 to 2000, for defeating Maoist Shining Path guerrillas and stabilizing the economy. 

Others loathe him for human rights violations, including the running of death squads.

The pardon has triggered street protests led by the families of victims and those who accuse Kuczynski of a backroom political deal.

However, others have come out to support the former president. 

Read more: Opinion: Pardoning of Peru's Alberto Fujimori hurts voter trust

Backroom deal?

The pardon came days after Kuczynski survived an impeachment vote on Thursday over his alleged involvement in a corruption scandal involving Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.

Keiki Fujimori, the former president's daughter who leads the main opposition Popular Front party, backed the impeachment. 

However, the ex-president's youngest son Kenji, who is a Popular Front congressman, drained support away from the impeachment vote.

This prompted accusations that Fujimori's pardon was a way for Kuczynski to pay off his political debt.

The president defended his decision in a televised address on Monday night.

"I am convinced that those of us who feel democratic should not allow Alberto Fujimori to die in prison, because justice is not revenge," Kuczynski said. "It is about the health and chances of life of a former president of Peru who, having committed excesses and grave errors, was sentenced and has already completed 12 years" in prison, he said.

cw/msh (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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