While the current president celebrates that he was not impeached, the former Head of States celebrates his absolution
Leer en Español: El perdón de Fujimori dividió el país
Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, through his constitutional powers, has decided to grant humanitarian pardon to ex-President Alberto Fujimori, as well as seven other people in similar condition.
The announcement was made through an official statement on Sunday, December 24th. Fujimori was serving a 25-year sentence for human rights abuses, corruption, and the sanctioning of death squads.
Two members of President Kuczynski’s party in the Peruvian Congress have resigned in protest at the pardon.
On December 11th, former President Fujimori submitted a request to the National Penitentiary Institute (INPE) for pardon and clemency based on humanitarian reasons. Supporters of the former president gathered outside the clinic to celebrate his pardon on Christmas eve. "He was a brave man, the best Peruvian president of all time”, said Juana Lopez, one of the people outside of the hospital celebrating.
In a video on Facebook, Fujimori vowed, that as a free man, he would support Kuczynski’s call for reconciliation, hinting that he would not return to politics. “I’m aware the results of my government were well received by some, but I acknowledge I also disappointed other compatriots”, the previous Head of State affirmed.
But protesters against the pardon clashed with police on December 25th. Protesters called for the ousting of Kuczynski who defended his decision in a televised message to the nation “I am convinced that those of us who feel democratic should not allow Alberto Fujimori to die in prison, because justice is not revenge”, he stated on television.
“Out, out PPK! Out, out PPK!”, angry demonstrators chanted in reference to the current president, who had promised, during his campaign last year, that he would not free Fujimori because his crimes needed atonement.
Keiko Fujimori, daughter of Alberto, lost Peru's last presidential election to Kuczynski; her party dominates Congress. Fujimori’s party set an attempt to expel Kuczynski from power over business ties with the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht; the president survived the impeachment vote late December 21st after 10 lawmakers abstained their vote.
There is speculation that Kuczynski agreed to pardon the former president as thanks towards some opposition lawmakers that did not support his impeachment. Jose Miguel Vivanco, executive director for the Americas Division of Human Rights Watch, denounced the pardon and also alluded to a pact. “Instead of reaffirming that in a state with rule of law there is no room for special treatment for anyone, the thought that will persist forever is that his freedom was a crude political negotiation in exchange for (Kuczynski) to remain in power”, Vivanco tweeted.
Latin American Post | Carlos Gómez Avella
Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto