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Fujimori's pardon leads to further Peru protests

December 26, 2017

Protesters have labeled Peru's current president a traitor for pardoning jailed former strongman Alberto Fujimori. The 79-year-old was serving a 25-year sentence for human rights violations.

Protests against pardon of Alberto Fujimori
Image: Reuters/M. Bazo

Protests erupt in Peru

Clashes erupted on Monday for a second day between protesters and Peru's police following the decision to grant a medical pardon to jailed former president Alberto Fujimori.

At one point, police in riot gear fired tear gas to disperse dozens of people gathered on a side street in the capital Lima.

Protests erupt in Peru

TV footage showed more than a thousand people on the streets, and many of them denounced Sunday's decision by President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski to free his predecessor.

Fujimori was serving a 25-year sentence for corruption and human rights abuses — including the ordering of death squads against his political opponents.

Political deal?

Many protesters labeled Kuczynski a traitor, while political opponents denounced the pardon as part of a crude political deal.

On Thursday, a parliamentary bid to impeach Kuczynski over allegations of corruption failed, after Fujimori's son Kenji and several other lawmakers withdrew their support.

Protest against release of Peru's ex-president Fujimori
Fujimori, who governed Peru from 1990 to 2000, grew increasingly autocratic, and was jailed for human rights abusesImage: picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Mejia

Kuczynski said in a statement that a medical board had determined that Fujimori "suffers from a progressive, degenerative and incurable disease and that prison conditions mean a serious risk to his life, health and well-being."

The 79-year-old Fujimori, who governed from 1990 to 2000, was taken to hospital from prison late on Sunday to treat an abnormal heartbeat. He remains in intensive care, but doctors have said his condition is "favorable."

Divisive ex-leader

A polarizing figure, Fujimori's stabilization of Peru's economy following a crisis, and a violent campaign against the Maoist Shining Path guerrilla movement has been applauded.

But others have denounced the human rights violations carried out under his administration, many of which Amnesty International says constitute crimes against humanity.

The decision was a U-turn for Kuczynski, who vowed during his election campaign not to pardon Fujimori.

Fujimori — who is of Japanese descent — has been in prison for more than a decade, and has been hospitalized on several previous occasions, most recently in September.

mm/jm (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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