Peru’s former president Alberto Fujimori, 85, was released from prison on Wednesday (6/12) after a court restored pardon for his 25-year prison sentence for crimes against humanity.
Fujimori, who served from 1990 to 2000 and is now in poor health, left the Barbadillo prison in Lima and was greeted by his children Keiko and Kenji.
“Our hearts are full of joy, because this man was imprisoned unjustly,” said one supporter who gave his name only as Nikita.
They left in a gray truck that moved slowly through crowds of cheering supporters, AFP journalists observed.
Supporters of former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori gather at the entrance to Barbadillo prison to demand his release in the eastern suburbs of Lima on December 5, 2023. (Photo: AFP)
Fujimori was jailed in 2009 for massacres carried out by army death squads in 1991 and 1992, in which 25 people, including a child, were killed in an anti-terrorist operation.
On Tuesday, the Constitutional Court ordered his release on humanitarian grounds, and reinstated a pardon first granted in 2017, but revoked by the Supreme Court two years later.
Fujimori, who is of Japanese descent, has divided the Peruvian people like several other former leaders.
For some, he was able to create economic growth through his neo-liberal economic policies, and deserves credit for successfully crushing left-wing rebel groups.
Others recall with distaste his cruel and authoritarian style of governance.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, based in Costa Rica, urged Peru not to release him immediately, and to seek time to assess the Peruvian court’s decision.
Last year, the Constitutional Court ordered Fujimori’s release on humanitarian grounds, but the Inter-American court urged Peru not to release him, and the Peruvian government agreed to the request.
This time the government ignored the trial and released the elderly former president. (ns/rs)