Peru court orders imprisoned ex-President Fujimori's 'immediate' release

  • World
  • Wednesday, 06 Dec 2023

FILE PHOTO: Judge Nestro Paredes listens as former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori speaks during a digital hearing, in Lima, Peru October 4, 2023, in this screen grab obtained from a video. Courtesy of Peruvian Justice TV/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

LIMA (Reuters) -Peru's constitutional court ordered the "immediate release" of imprisoned former President Alberto Fujimori, according to a court document published on Tuesday, marking the latest chapter in a dizzying legal saga for the controversial former leader.

Fujimori, 85, is serving a 25-year sentence for human right abuses and corruption during his decade-long rule through the 1990s.

The country's highest court ruled that an appeal to restore a 2017 pardon for the ailing Fujimori on humanitarian grounds was "founded," the document said.

The constitutional court previously issued a ruling in Fujimori's favor in 2022, but the ruling was later suspended amid pressure from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR).

Furimori's lawyer, Elio Riera, said that Fujimori will probably be released on Wednesday.

"The former president is very calm," Riera said on Tuesday outside prison holding Fujimori. "He is very hopeful that this will be executed quickly."

Fujimori, convicted in 2009 of ordering the massacre of 25 people in 1991 and 1992 while his government was fighting against the Shining Path guerrillas, received a pardon on Christmas Eve in 2017 from former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski,

A deeply divisive figure in Peru, Fujimori's pardon roiled the country, parts of which see him as a dictator and others as a hero, and sparked outcry from the families of victims of the massacre.

He was ordered back to prison in October 2018.

Human rights activists criticized the ruling on Tuesday, which they said defies international organizations that have called for justice for victims of state violence.

"This is very serious for the rule of law. This is going to have international legal consequences," said Carlos Rivera, a lawyer for the NGO Legal Defense Institute.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino; Writing by Valentine Hilaire and Brendan O'Boyle; Editing by Sarah Morland and Sandra Maler)

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