In Peru, former president Alberto Fujimori, convicted of crimes against humanity, has been released

Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) was released on Wednesday December 6 from prison where he had been serving a twenty-five-year sentence since 2009 for crimes against humanity

In Peru, former president Alberto Fujimori, convicted of crimes against humanity, has been released

Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) was released on Wednesday December 6 from prison where he had been serving a twenty-five-year sentence since 2009 for crimes against humanity. His release was decided the day before by the Constitutional Court.

Mr. Fujimori, dressed in a black jacket, left Barbadillo prison, east of Lima, late in the afternoon aboard a gray van which slowly made its way through the crowd of his supporters who had come there. welcome, according to journalists from Agence France-Presse.

His daughter Keiko, three times an unsuccessful candidate in the second round of the presidential election, and his son Kenji, a businessman, who had repeatedly called for the release of their father, were at his side. “My father’s health is fragile. The most important thing is to take care of him and make sure he recovers little by little. We know that the best therapy is the love of one’s family,” her daughter Keiko told reporters outside her home.

Mr. Fujimori, 85, suffers recurrently from respiratory and neurological problems, including facial paralysis.

On Tuesday, the Constitutional Court ordered the immediate release of the controversial former president, restoring a pardon granted in 2017 and which was revoked two years later by the Supreme Court.

Found guilty of two massacres

But for Cardinal Pedro Barreto, the pardon granted to Mr. Fujimori is a “slap in the face.” “In this country, when there is a judicial sentence, it is carried out until the last day, there is no privilege for anyone,” he lambasted.

The former Peruvian strongman was found guilty of the deaths of 25 people in two massacres carried out by an army commando in what was called the war against terrorism (1980-2000) by guerrillas of 'leftmost.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights on Wednesday called in vain for Peru to “refrain from executing” the decision of the Constitutional Court “until the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has all the elements necessary to analyze whether this decision respects the conditions” of its previous judgments. But the government of President Dina Boluarte authorized his release.

Mr. Fujimori “has served approximately two thirds of his sentence”, the Constitutional Court justified itself, in addition to putting forward humanitarian arguments.

The Peruvian Association for Human Rights condemned this decision, saying it was a snub to the Inter-American Court.

The Peruvian Minister of Foreign Affairs assured that Lima reaffirmed “its commitment to the system of promotion and protection of human rights, at the regional and universal levels”.

The Constitutional Court had already ordered the release of Mr. Fujimori in March 2022, but the Inter-American Court of Human Rights had asked the State to “refrain from executing” this decision. The country, then led by left-wing President Pedro Castillo, complied.

Corruption and authoritarian methods

Alberto Fujimori ruled Peru with an iron fist but, in the face of growing opposition, fled in November 2000 to Japan, where his family is from. It was by fax that he then announced that he was renouncing his mandate. Then extradited from Chile in 2007, he was convicted and imprisoned two years later. In 2017, he made a request for “forgiveness” for the actions committed by his government.

Alberto Fujimori divided Peruvians like few politicians have done in the history of the Andean country of 32 million people. For some, the man nicknamed "El Chino" (the Chinese) is the man who boosted the country's economic growth through his ultra-liberal policies, and successfully fought the Shining Path (Maoist) guerrillas and of the Tupac Amaru (Guevarist) Revolutionary Movement.

Others especially remember the corruption scandals and his authoritarian methods, which landed him behind bars for having ordered two massacres perpetrated by a death squad in 1991-1992, as part of the fight against the Path luminous.

We “make fun of the families and the victims,” lamented to AFP Gladys Rubina, sister of one of the victims of the massacres for which Mr. Fujimori was convicted. “The man never asked us for forgiveness and here he walks out, as if nothing had happened.” “I only trust the justice of the Inter-American Court,” she said.