Latin America & Caribbean

Peru court reverses ex-president Alberto Fujimori's pardon

Former President of Peru Alberto Fujimori attends a trial as a witness at the navy base in Callao, Peru March 15, 2018. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Alberto Fujimori (pictured in March 2018) was pardoned less than a year ago

A court in Peru has reversed a pardon granted to the country's ex-president, Alberto Fujimori.

Fujimori was pardoned in December on health grounds, nine years after being found guilty of having links to a death squad and two massacres.

But a court ordered him back to jail after a victims' group won an appeal against the decision, made by then-president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

Fujimori, who led Peru in the 1990s, will fight the ruling, his lawyer said.

His daughter Keiko, who leads the main opposition Popular Force party, told reporters the decision was "inhuman" and "unjust".

Most Peruvians had assumed Fujimori, now 80, would be in prison for the rest of his life after being sentenced to 25 years in 2009, having been convicted of ordering the killings of 25 people by a government-backed death squad during Peru's internal conflict.

But in December 2017, he was taken from prison to a hospital in the capital, Lima, because of health concerns; he was suffering from low blood pressure and abnormal heart rhythm.

Mr Kuczynski, who resigned in March over a vote-buying scandal, gave him a pardon the same month, prompting protests in Lima - even as Fujimori's supporters celebrated outside the city hospital where he was being treated.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Supporters gathered outside his home after the judge handed down his decision

The pardon was widely seen as part of a political deal. Mr Kuczynski had narrowly avoided impeachment, with the support of Fujimori's supporters, three days earlier.

Carlos Rivera, who is representing victims' family members, said the decision to reverse the pardon "re-establishes the right to justice for the family members of the victims".

Fujimori is admired by many in Peru for ruthlessly crushing Maoist rebels in the 1990s, ending a conflict that cost tens of thousands of lives.

But his critics say he is a corrupt dictator who was rightfully jailed for ordering the killings of innocent peasants.

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