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Peruvian court approves prison release for ex-President Fujimori

By Orowo Victoria Ojieh

Peru’s Constitutional Court on Thursday approved the release from prison of former President Alberto Fujimori, who is serving a 25-year sentence for murder and corruption charges.

The court reinstated a humanitarian pardon granted on health grounds in December 2017 but revoked it again in October 2018, The Trumpet gathered.

The country’s Supreme Court overturned the medical pardon in 2018 and ordered the 83-year-old returned to jail to serve out his sentence for human rights abuses, which was supposed to run until Feb. 10, 2032.

Former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski had said he pardoned Fujimori because he suffered from a heart condition that worsened because of prison conditions.

Although Kuczynski’s move was widely seen as an attempt to beat back impeachment by courting favor with Fujimori’s allies in Congress. He resigned three months after the pardon.

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Fujimori, who was president from 1990 to 2000, is serving the 25-year sentence for two massacres committed by army death squads in 1991 and 1992, in which 25 people, including a child were killed in supposed anti-terrorist operations. He fled into exile in Japan, where his parents were from when he left office, but he was extradited back to Peru from Chile in 2007 and jailed.

Incumbent President, Pedro Castillo tweeted on Thursday that the international justice bodies to which Peru is attached must safeguard the effective exercise of justice for the people. Fujimori’s daughter, Keiko Fujimori, was a presidential candidate last year and vowed to release his father if she got elected.

But Castillo defeated her in a runoff election. The vote on whether or not to release Fujimori was equally split three for and three against. The decision of the court is causing uproar, people gathered outside the prison hoping to see the 83 year old Fujimori exit, though authorities gave no indication his release was imminent. Fujimori’s lawyer, Cesar Nakazaki, said the former leader was not expected to leave prison until Monday or Tuesday after some legal procedures are completed.

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