LIMA – The pardon that allowed disgraced former President Alberto Fujimori to walk out of prison last December does not shield him from prosecution for the torture and murder of six people in 1992, a Peruvian court ruled on Monday.
Judges accepted a motion brought by families of the victims of what is known as the Pativilca massacre.
An attorney for the former president, Miguel Perez, said afterward that his client would appeal Monday’s decision to the Supreme Court.
Fujimori, 79, was serving a 25-year sentence for the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta massacres and other crimes committed during his 1990-2000 tenure when President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski granted him a pardon on Christmas Eve 2016.
The terms of the controversial measure included sparing Fujimori from trial in the Pativilca case, in which he is charged with giving orders that led to the abduction, torture and death of six men between the ages of 17 and 38 in a town north of Lima.
Legal Defense Institute counsel Carlos Rivera, who represented families of the 25 people killed in Barrios Altos and La Cantuta, called Monday’s ruling historic, while wondering aloud whether prosecutors will take steps to ensure that Fujimori shows up for trial in the Pativilca case.
Alberto Fujimori’s government collapsed in Fall 2000 amid a burgeoning corruption scandal involving spy chief and top adviser Vladimiro Montesinos.
When the dismissal of Montesinos failed to appease public outrage, Fujimori fled Peru for Japan, from where he faxed his resignation as president.
Tokyo granted Fujimori asylum by virtue of the Japanese citizenship his emigrant parents obtained for him at the time of his birth in Peru. Had Peruvian authorities known of his dual citizenship, he would never have been allowed to run for president.
Although he was safe from extradition in Japan, the president traveled to Chile unexpectedly on Nov. 6, 2005, apparently with hopes of returning to Peru to compete in the 2006 presidential election.
But Chilean authorities promptly arrested him on an Interpol warrant and he was ultimately turned over to Peru.
Since his release from prison, Fujimori has been living in a Lima mansion that rents for nearly $5,000 a month.
Kuczynski signed the pardon for the former president just three days after he avoided impeachment thanks to the votes of 10 opposition lawmakers led by Kenji Fujimori, Alberto’s son, prompting many to suspect that political machinations were at work in the decision.
Kuczynski became president by defeating Keiko Fujimori – Kenji’s older sister – in a 2016 runoff. During the campaign, he vowed not to pardon Alberto Fujimori.