Peru Court Again Rules Ex-President Fujimori Can Leave Prison

A follower of Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori holding a placard stands outside a prison, after a top court reinstated the pardon of Fujimori in Lima on Nov. 29.

LIMA (Reuters) — Ex-Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori should be released from prison, a top constitutional court said on Wednesday after reinstating his pardon for the second time in two years, counter to the rulings of an international court.

Fujimori, 85, is serving a 25-year prison sentence for human rights abuses and corruption. He has been imprisoned since 2007, and was not due for release until 2032.

He initially received a presidential pardon in Christmas 2017 and was briefly freed before it was annulled after the intervention of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR).

Last year, local courts reinstated the pardon but it was again overturned following pressure by the IACHR.

The newest ruling by the same court follows an appeal by Fujimori’s team and could prompt his release if upheld by a judge, or face a third block by the IACHR.

Alberto Fujimori must be released in accordance with the decision of the constitutional court, the court’s president Francisco Morales said on Wednesday in an interview with local radio station RPP.

Fujimori’s lawyer, Elio Riera, told journalists his client was “waiting patiently” for his freedom.

However, local activists criticized the decision.

The National Human Rights Coordinator said in a statement that Fujimori’s pardon “was the product of a corrupt negotiation” and his freedom would be “an affront to justice.”

The former president, who was in power through the 1990s, was convicted of ordering the massacre of 25 people in 1991 and 1992 while his government was fighting against the Shining Path guerrillas.

He nonetheless is a popular figure among the country’s right wing for his economic policies, particularly in the Fuerza Popular party now headed by his daughter Keiko Fujimori.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, his daughter referred to “a humanitarian pardon.” The former president has severe health issues according to his doctors.

Peru is a member of the IACHR court and has in the past obeyed its rulings.