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On 24 December 2017, the President of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, pardoned jailed ex-president Alberto Fujimori. Because the pardon was granted on Christmas Eve, it became known as the "indulto de Navidad" ("Christmas pardon").[1]

Pardon of Alberto Fujimori
Al Fujimori.jpg
Alberto Fujimori in 1998
Date24 December 2017
LocationPeru
TypePardon
ConvictionsHuman rights abuses, murder and kidnapping
Sentence25 years

In 2009, Fujimori had been convicted of human rights violations and sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role in killings and kidnappings by the Grupo Colina death squad during his government's battle against Shining Path leftist guerrillas in the 1990s. The verdict marked the first time that an elected head of state has been extradited to his home country, tried, and convicted of human rights violations. Fujimori was specifically found guilty of murder, bodily harm, and two cases of kidnapping.[2][3][4][5] The pardon was granted after Fujimori had completed 10 years of imprisonment in Lima.[6]

The pardon sparked protests across Peru.[7] Protestors accused Kuczynski of corruption, claiming that the pardon was payback for the support of Fujimori's son, Kenji Fujimori, which had been central to Kuczynski's success in surviving an impeachment vote days earlier.[7][8]

On 3 October 2018, Fujimori's pardon was reversed by Peru's Supreme Court and he was ordered to return to prison.[9] He was rushed to a hospital and entered prison on 23 January 2019.[10]

Contents

BackgroundEdit

Legal situationEdit

According to Peruvian law, the president has the power to grant a humanitarian pardon when the condemned person presents a terminal illness; an advanced, incurable, degenerative illness where prison conditions put the person's life, health, or integrity at risk; or a chronic, degenerative, mental illness where prison conditions put the person's life, health or integrity at risk.[11]

Fujimori's criminal trial and convictionsEdit

Alberto Fujimori was President of Peru between 1990 and 2000 in the period of the so-called Fujimorato. While still president, Fujimori fled the country and took refuge in Japan when faced with charges of corruption in 2000. On arriving in Japan he attempted to resign his presidency via fax, but his resignation was rejected by the Congress of the Republic, which removed him from office by the process of impeachment. Wanted in Peru on charges of corruption and human rights abuses, Fujimori maintained a self-imposed exile until his arrest while visiting Chile in November 2005.[12] He was extradited to face criminal charges in Peru in September 2007.[13] In 2009, he was sentenced to 25 years for homicide for ordering the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta massacres.[3] He was also sentenced for other crimes such as corruption.[14]

Other accusations against Fujimori include the mass sterilization of 231,774 indigenous people in rural Peru as a result of the National Population Program.[15]

Previous pardon requestEdit

Press reports in late 2012 indicated that Fujimori was suffering from tongue cancer and other medical problems. His family petitioned then-president Ollanta Humala for a pardon.[16] President Humala rejected a pardon in June 2013, saying that Fujimori's condition was not serious enough to warrant it.[17][18] In July 2016, with three days left in his term, President Humala said that there was insufficient time to evaluate a second request to pardon Fujimori, leaving the decision to his successor Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.[19][20]

Impeachment of Pedro Pablo KuczynskiEdit

In December 2017, Kuczynski faced impeachment proceedings for his connection to the international corruption scandal surrounding the Brazilian firm Odebrecht. The impeachment request was presented by left-wing party Broad Front (headed by a former priest and environmental activist called Marco Arana).[21] Fujimori's daughter Keiko was the most outspoken supporter of the impeachment proceedings against Kuczynski, who had defeated her the year before in a tightly contested presidential election.[22] Kuczynski survived the impeachment vote on 21 December, largely due to the support of Fujimori's son Kenji.[22]

PardonEdit

On 11 December 2017 Fujimori requested a pardon for humanitarian reasons. A medical board composed of Juan Postigo, Víctor Sánchez and Guido Hernández recommended pardoning the former President due to a "progressive, degenerative and incurable disease".[23][24] On 23 December, Fujimori was transferred from the Diroes prison to a clinic.[25] On 24 December, the Press Office of the Presidential Office announced the pardon of Alberto Fujimori through a press release.[26]

An official medical board has evaluated the inmate and has determined that Mr. Fujimori suffers from a progressive, degenerative and incurable disease and that prison conditions pose a serious risk to his life, health and integrity. ... The President of the Republic, in using the powers conferred by the political Constitution of Peru for such purposes, has decided to grant a humanitarian pardon to Mr. Alberto Fujimori and seven others who are in similar condition at 18:00 hours on 24 December 2017.

— Press Office of the Presidential Office[27]

The same day, Kuczynski signed R.S. No. 281-2017-JUS., granting Fujimori "pardon and right of grace for humanitarian reasons within the Barbadillo Penitentiary Establishment".[28]

ReactionsEdit

On 25 December, in the face of protests against the pardon, Kuczysnki released a Message to the Nation, asking people to not "get carried away by hate" nor to allow the former President to "die in prison".[29] In a video broadcast on his social media, Fujimori apologized to those who were "defrauded by [his] government" and thanked Kuczynski.[30]

There was widespread criticism in Peru that the pardon was motivated less by clemency than a desire to reward Fujimori's son Kenji for his role in helping Kuczynski survive the impeachment vote against him the week before the pardon.[8] Thousands of protesters took to the streets in Lima on 26 December.[8] The Peruvian non-profit law office Legal Defense Institute denounced the pardon as political and illegal and vowed to appeal it to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR).[31] The Peruvian human rights organization Association for Human Rights (APRODEH) and the international organization Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL) released a statement on 27 December asking the IACHR to intervene.[32]

Amerigo Incalcaterra, the South America representative for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, categorically rejected the pardon, stating that "Not putting victims at the center of this decision derails the progress the Peruvian state has made on truth, justice, memory and reparations",[8]

Before the pardon was announced, Human Rights Watch had condemned the possibility of a pardon, calling it "a slap in the face to victims of atrocities in Peru and a major setback for the rule of law in the country";[33] and Amnesty International said that the pardon would violate Peru's obligations under international law and undermine the fight against impunity.[34]

The days following the pardon saw the resignation of various members of Kuczynski's Peruvians for Change party, including the Minister of Culture,[35] three members of Congress, and eight appointed officials.[36] Facing a second impeachment process, Kyczynski himself resigned in March 2018.

Reversal of pardonEdit

Following appeals by victims of Fujimori's decisions, Peru's Supreme Court reversed his pardon on 3 October 2018. Fujimori was ordered back to prison.[9] The court found that the pardon lacked legal foundation, as one of the reasons given for Fujimori's pardon was a terminal illness, but he did not suffer from one.[37] Furthermore, it found that "the pardon was unlawful because Fujimori's crimes are considered crimes against humanity, and therefore can't be pardoned under Peruvian and international law".[38] Fujimori's attorney said he would appeal the decision.[38]

On the day the reversal was announced, Fujimori was transported by ambulance to a private clinic to be treated for a heart condition. He gave an interview there one day later, saying that a return to prison would kill him.[39]

Days later, on 11 October 2018, the Congress of Peru—whose members are mainly fujimorist—approved a bill allowing older adults to be released from prison and be placed on electronic monitoring, a move that was seen as benefiting Fujimori.[40]

In January 2019, a court-appointed panel found that Fujimori was healthy enough to return to prison, and he was forced back to prison on 23 January 2019.[10] The Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Fujimori's lawyers on 13 February 2019, confirming the earlier decision that Fujimori must serve the remaining 13 years of his sentence in prison.[41]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Alberto Fujimori envió un saludo por Navidad tras conocer su indulto" [Alberto Fujimori sent a Christmas greeting after learning about his pardon]. RPP (in Spanish). 25 December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  2. ^ Emery, Alex (7 April 2009). "Peru's Fujimori Found Guilty on Human Rights Charges". Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on 9 December 2011. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Peru's Fujimori sentenced to 25 years prison". Reuters. 7 April 2009. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Fujimori es condenado a 25 años de prisión por delitos contra los DDHH" [Fujimori is sentenced to 25 years in prison for crimes against human rights]. La República (in Spanish). 7 April 2009. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  5. ^ "Fujimori gets 25 years on conviction in human rights case". The Boston Globe. 8 April 2009. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  6. ^ "El presidente de Perú indulta al exmandatario Alberto Fujimori" [The President of Peru pardons ex-President Alberto Fujimori]. NHK (in Spanish). 25 December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  7. ^ a b Mitra Taj and Marco Aquino (28 December 2017). "Thousands of Peruvians march against Fujimori pardon". Reuters. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d Zarate, Andrea; Londoñodec, Ernesto (26 December 2017). "From a Hospital Bed, Alberto Fujimori Asks Peru to 'Forgive Me'". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Peru court reverses ex-leader's pardon". BBC News. 3 October 2018. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Peru's Fujimori, pardon annulled, forced back to prison". Reuters. 24 January 2019. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  11. ^ "¿Cuál es el proceso de indulto en Perú?" [What is the pardon process in Peru?]. RPP (in Spanish). 25 December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  12. ^ "Conditional release for Fujimori". BBC News. 18 May 2006. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  13. ^ "Extradited Fujimori back in Peru". BBC News. 22 September 2007. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  14. ^ "Estos son los 5 casos por los que ya fue condenado Alberto Fujimori" [These are the 5 cases for which Alberto Fujimori was already condemned]. Perú.21 (in Spanish). 25 December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  15. ^ "Mass sterilisation scandal shocks Peru". BBC News.
  16. ^ Neuman, William (10 October 2012). "Peru: Fujimori Family Requests Pardon for Former Peruvian President". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  17. ^ "Peru president rules out pardon for ex-leader Fujimori". BBC News. 26 July 2016. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  18. ^ "En el 2013 Humala denegó indulto a Alberto Fujimori" [In 2013 Humala denied pardon to Alberto Fujimori]. El Comercio (in Spanish). 26 July 2016. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  19. ^ "Alberto Fujimori Files New Request for Presidential Pardon". Andean Air Mail & Peruvian Times. Lima. 25 July 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  20. ^ Taj, Mitra (26 July 2016). Fernandez, Clarence (ed.). "Peru's Humala rules out pardoning Fujimori during his term". Reuters. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  21. ^ Peru21, Redacción (15 December 2017). "Frente Amplio presentó moción de vacancia contra el presidente Pedro Pablo Kuczynski". Peru21. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  22. ^ a b Collyns, Dan (24 December 2017). "Peru's jailed ex-president Alberto Fujimori pardoned, sparking protests". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  23. ^ "Doctor de Fujimori desde hace veinte años integró junta médica que recomendó indulto humanitario" [Fujimori's doctor for twenty years part of medical board that recommended humanitarian pardon]. Diario Correo (in Spanish). 24 December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  24. ^ "Presidente peruano Kuczynski otorga indulto humanitario a exmandatario Fujimori" [Peruvian President Kuczynski grants humanitarian pardon to former President Fujimori] (in Spanish). Reuters. 24 December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  25. ^ "Alberto Fujimori fue trasladado a clínica desde la Diroes" [Alberto Fujimori was transferred to clinic from the Diroes]. El Comercio (in Spanish). 23 December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  26. ^ "Alberto Fujimori en libertad: PPK le dio el indulto humanitario" [Alberto Fujimori released: PPK gave him humanitarian pardon]. El Comercio (in Spanish). 25 December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  27. ^ "Alberto Fujimori libre: PPK le otorgó el indulto al exdictador" [Alberto Fujimori released: PPK gave the ex-dictator pardon]. La República (in Spanish). 25 December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  28. ^ "Esta es la Resolución Suprema que concede el indulto a Alberto Fujimori por razones humanitarias" [This is the Supreme Resolution that grants the pardon to Alberto Fujimori for humanitarian reasons]. RPP (in Spanish). 24 December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  29. ^ "PPK calificó de "excesos" y "errores" los crímenes de Alberto Fujimori" [PPK described Alberto Fujimori's crimes as "excesses" and "errors"]. La República (in Spanish). 25 December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  30. ^ "Alberto Fujimori pide perdón a peruanos defraudados por su gobierno" [Alberto Fujimori apologizes to Peruvians defrauded by his government]. Gestión (in Spanish). 26 December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  31. ^ "CIDH podría revocar indulto de Alberto Fujimori en febrero" [IACHR could revoke Alberto Fujimori's pardon in February] (in Spanish). Gestión. 25 December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  32. ^ "Perú: organizaciones pidieron a la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos que exija información sobre el indulto a Fujimori" [Peru: Organizations ask the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to demand information on Fujimori's pardon]. Infobae (in Spanish). 27 December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  33. ^ "Peru: Don't Give Fujimori Special Treatment". Human Rights Watch. 6 July 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  34. ^ "Peru: Rumours of pardon for Fujimori must not distract from efforts to seek justice for victims". Amnesty International. 20 October 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  35. ^ "Salvador del Solar renunció al Ministerio de Cultura" [Salvador del Solar resigned from the Ministry of Culture]. La República (in Spanish). 27 December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  36. ^ "Renuncias tras indulto: los ministros, congresistas y funcionarios que pierde PPK". La República (in Spanish). 27 December 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  37. ^ Collyns, Dan (3 October 2018). "Peru's high court overturns pardon of former strongman Fujimori". the Guardian. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  38. ^ a b "Peru court overturns pardon of ex-leader Fujimori". seattlepi.com. 4 October 2018. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  39. ^ "Peruvian ex-strongman Fujimori, 80, warns from hospital that return to prison will kill him". The Japan Times Online. 5 October 2018. ISSN 0447-5763. Retrieved 27 October 2018.
  40. ^ "Alberto Fujimori | Pleno del Congreso aprobó proyecto para excarcelar a adultos mayores". RPP (in Spanish). 11 October 2018. Retrieved 12 October 2018.
  41. ^ "Peru Supreme Court keeps Fujimori in jail". Newcastle Herald. 14 February 2019. Retrieved 14 February 2019.