Peru's Constitutional Court Orders Ex-President Alberto Fujimori Freed From Prison
20:09 GMT 17.03.2022 (Updated: 21:00 GMT 17.03.2022)
© AP Photo / Marcelo SalinasPeruvian President Alberto Fujimori and first lady Susana Higuchi attend an Independence Day celebration, in their last public appearance together, in Lima, Peru, July 28, 1994. Higuchi died on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021 at the age of 73, confirmed her daughter Keiko Fujimori.
© AP Photo / Marcelo Salinas
Peruvian President Pedro Castillo has faced a powerful right-wing resistance to his administration since even before taking office in July 2021, having narrowly averted defeat by rival Keiko Fujimori.
The Constitutional Tribunal of Peru ordered on Thursday that the 2017 pardon of former President Alberto Fujimori, Keiko's father, be restored after having been cancelled in 2018. The 83-year-old has been serving a 25-year prison sentence since 2007 for crimes against humanity associated with his brutal rule.
The move comes as the Peruvian government is being thrown into chaos after the most recent attempt by the opposition-controlled Congress to impeach Castillo succeeded. On Monday, the Senate moved to begin the proceedings, with Castillo slated to defend himself on March 28.
Castillo, a leftist schoolteacher, farmer, and trade unionist from the mountains, is the polar opposite of the conservative coastal financiers he ran against, many of whom still have connections to Fujimori's rule and celebrate his neoliberal policies. Keiko Fujimori ran on a platform of restoring that period, including freeing her father from prison, and when she failed to achieve victory in the 2021 election, her campaign reportedly received help overturning the result from Vladimiro Montesinos, the jailed former head of Peru’s National Intelligence Service under her father.
© REUTERS / Alessandro CinqueA supporter of Peru's right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori, who will face opponent socialist candidate Pedro Castillo in a run-off vote on June 6, holds a photograph of Keiko Fujimori's father, Peru's former President Alberto Fujimori, during a political rally, in Lima, Peru May 15, 2021.
A supporter of Peru's right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori, who will face opponent socialist candidate Pedro Castillo in a run-off vote on June 6, holds a photograph of Keiko Fujimori's father, Peru's former President Alberto Fujimori, during a political rally, in Lima, Peru May 15, 2021.
The elder Fujimori ruled Peru from 1990 until 2000, ushering in a period of harsh neoliberal reforms known as the “Fujishock,” a destructive period of economic crisis as vast parts of the economy were privatized and the country’s currency was replaced. Concurrently, he waged a destructive counterinsurgency war against the Shining Path, a Maoist guerilla movement in the countryside. During the course of the war, which began in 1980 and ended in 2000, an estimated 69,000 Peruvians were killed. During Fujimori's rule, thousands more are believed to have been disappeared by death squads.
Fujimori was forced from power in 2000 by corruption charges, and in 2008, he was charged with crimes against humanity for several death squad massacres he had ordered.