World News

Fujimori of Peru Released From Hospital After Outcry Over Pardon

Posted January 5, 2018 2:25 a.m. EST

LIMA, Peru — Alberto Fujimori, the former president of Peru who had been serving a 25-year sentence for human rights violations, left a Lima hospital Thursday evening, days after he was granted a presidential pardon on medical grounds.

Fujimori, 79, left the hospital in a wheelchair and waved to journalists waiting outside as he stepped into a black SUV that took him to a large house in the quiet, upscale neighborhood of La Molina.

He was accompanied in the SUV by his son, Congressman Kenji Fujimori, who posted on Twitter a picture and a video with his father as they made their way through the capital.

Fujimori was in office from 1990 to 2000 but remains a deeply divisive figure, respected in some quarters for his economic overhauls and his crackdown on two violent insurgencies, but reviled by others for his strongman tactics and for military-backed atrocities during his tenure.

Peru’s president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, granted Fujimori a medical pardon on Christmas Eve, just days after Kenji Fujimori led a crucial coalition in Congress that saved Kuczynski from impeachment. The pardon has been widely seen as a quid pro quo between the two politicians, and it ignited large protests in Lima.

But in supporting Kuczynski, Kenji Fujimori was openly challenging his sister, Keiko, who leads the Popular Force party and who had urged her party to vote in favor of dismissing Kuczynski from office.

On Thursday afternoon, Popular Force issued a statement saying that it saluted Fujimori’s pardoning but that it “disagreed with the way” the pardon was carried out.

Fujimori’s doctor, Alejandro Aguinaga, said the former president had a “serious heart condition” and would be following a strict health regimen. It was unclear what role, if any, Fujimori would play in Peruvian politics.

Fujimori was sentenced in 2009 for his role in two military atrocities committed early in his presidency that included extrajudicial killings.

Human rights lawyers have challenged Kuczynski’s pardoning of Fujimori, hoping that either a local judge or a judge with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights will send him back to prison. A hearing in Costa Rica with the Inter-American Court is set for Feb. 2.