Peru’s former President Alberto Fujimori, 85, center, is driven out of prison by his children Keiko, center right, and Kenji, center left, after being released from prison on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, in Callao, Peru .

Martin Mejia/AP

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Martin Mejia/AP

Peru’s former President Alberto Fujimori, 85, center, is driven out of prison by his children Keiko, center right, and Kenji, center left, after being released from prison on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, in Callao, Peru .

Martin Mejia/AP

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Peru’s former President Alberto Fujimori was released from prison on humanitarian grounds Wednesday, despite a regional human rights court request to postpone his release.

Fujimori, 85, was serving a 25-year prison sentence in connection with the killing of 25 Peruvians by death squads in the 1990s. Peru’s Constitutional Court ordered his immediate release on Tuesday, but the Inter-American Court of Human Rights called for a delay to consider the verdict.

Fujimori, who ruled Peru from 1990 to 2000, was convicted of human rights violations in 2009. He was accused of being the mastermind behind the murder of the 25 Peruvians while the government was fighting the communist Shining Path rebels.

Fujimori, wearing a face mask and receiving supplemental oxygen, exited the prison door and got into a sport utility vehicle driven by his daughter-in-law. He sat in the back seat with his son and daughter, the right-wing career politician Keiko Fujimori.

Dozens of supporters waited for him outside the prison and crowded around the vehicle as it tried to move. It moved slowly through the streets of the prison district as people sang and banged on the windows.

Fujimori was supposed to live in this daughter’s house.

Peru’s Constitutional Court ruled Tuesday in favor of a humanitarian pardon granted to Fujimori on Christmas Eve 2017 by then-President Pablo Kuczynski. The country’s Supreme Court overturned the pardon in 2018 following pressure from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and ordered the former strongman to return to prison to serve his sentence.

After the Constitutional Court issued its latest ruling, the President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Ricardo Pérez Manrique, called in a resolution for the delay of Fujimori’s release to ensure “the right of access to justice” of the 25 people killed in two massacres were murdered.

“We live in an orphanage because we have no institutions that can defend us,” Gisela Ortiz, sister of one of the victims for whom Fujimori was convicted, told The Associated Press. “Peru conveys the image of a country where the rights of victims are not guaranteed and where human rights issues are irrelevant.”

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said on Wednesday that the Constitutional Court’s order to release Fujimori was “a worrying setback,” adding that “any humanitarian release of those responsible for serious human rights violations must be in accordance with international law.” must.” .”

Fujimori remains a polarizing figure in Peru. His policies improved the country’s economy and freed it from the vicious circle of hyperinflation. But he also used the military to dissolve Congress, rewrite the constitution and crack down on guerrilla violence.

The first of the two massacres he is accused of occurred in 1991 in an impoverished district of Lima. Hooded soldiers fatally shot 15 residents, including an 8-year-old child, who had gathered at a party.

Then, in 1992, a secret military unit kidnapped and killed nine students and a professor at Enrique Guzmán y Valle University. Forensic experts reported that the victims were tortured and shot in the back of the head. Their bodies were burned and hidden in mass graves.

The troupe operated under the facade of an architectural firm and was financed by Fujimori’s government.

The allegations against Fujimori have led to years of legal disputes. He resigned just at the start of his third term and fled the country in disgrace after leaked video footage showed his spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos bribing lawmakers. Fujimori traveled to Japan, his parents’ homeland, and submitted his resignation by fax.

Five years later, he stunned supporters and enemies alike when he flew to neighboring Chile, where he was arrested and extradited to Peru. Fujimori’s goal was to run for the Peruvian presidency again in 2006, but he was put on trial instead.

Source : www.npr.org

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