LIMA – Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski granted on Sunday a full humanitarian pardon to imprisoned former President Alberto Fujimori, who is serving a 25-year prison sentence for corruption and human rights violations, according to an official statement.
Kuczynski granted the pardon for the 79-year-old Fujimori, who governed Peru from 1990-2000, after the latter was taken from his prison cell to a private hospital on the weekend to be treated for blood pressure problems.
The authorization document notes that Fujimori presented a request for a pardon on Dec. 11 and that a medical board evaluated him and determined that he suffers from a “progressive, degenerative and incurable illness,” adding that the conditions in prison pose a serious risk to his life, health and physical wellbeing.
Kuczynski last week faced a move by the opposition in Peru’s Congress to force him from office for graft, but he avoided being deposed due to the votes in absentia of lawmaker Kenji Fujimori – Fujimori’s son – and nine other legislators with the Popular Force, which was considered to be the start of an alliance in favor of a pardon.
Fujimori was taken on Saturday to the private Centenario clinic in Lima for a bout of tachycardia and problems regulating his blood pressure, local media reported.
Fujimori’s chief physician, Alejandro Aguinaga, told the daily El Comercio that the ex-president was suffering from tachycardia, or rapid heartbeat, and so the decision was made to temporarily transfer him from the special police prison where he is being held to the hospital.
Fujimori is a controversial figure in Peru, having been accused by many of staging a “self-coup” to transform the country into a dictatorship and being at the center of a vast corruption network, while others claim that he ended a serious nationwide economic crisis and crushed the Maoist and bloody Shining Path guerrilla insurgency.
Of Peruvian-Japanese heritage, Fujimori ended his presidency in 2000 by fleeing to Japan to escape the huge corruption and human rights scandal that had enveloped his administration, and the Peruvian Parliament impeached him and removed him from office.
However, he was arrested by Chilean authorities in late 2005 while on a trip to that country and extradited to Peru two years later.
In December 2007, Fujimori was convicted of ordering an illegal search and seizure, and was sentenced to six years in prison, and in April 2009 he was found guilty 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 leftist guerrillas in the 1990s.
Numerous petitions for his pardon have been presented by supporters and family members over the years, but all have been rejected for various reasons by the government and the judiciary.
Fujimori is the father of Keiko Fujimori, who is active in Peruvian politics and lost the tight 2011 and 2016 presidential elections.
While imprisoned, the former leader has suffered from cancer of the tongue and undergone several surgeries to control that disease. He has also suffered from low blood pressure and other vascular ailments in recent years.