Peru: mass mobilization against Fujimori pardon

Thousands marched in Lima on July 7 to demand that Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski not pardon the country’s former strongman Alberto Fujimori, now serving a 25-year prison sentence for human rights violations. Kuczynski pledged on the campaign trail last year that there would be no pardon, helping him win a narrow victory against the ex-dictator's daughter, Keiko Fujimori. But last month Kuczynski broached a potential pardon for Fujimori, now 78, for ostensible health reasons. Interestingly, the move came as his finance minister Alfredo Thorne was ousted by Congress, dominated by Fujimori supporters.

On the same day as the Lima march, the elder Fujimori was transfered from his prison cell taken to a hospital, after reportedly showing signs of hypertension and irregular heartbeat. Kuczynski said a potential pardon for Fujimori would depend on a pending medical report. Fujimori has been convicted of ordering massacres of suspected guerilla supporters, we well as more prosaic charges such as embezzlement and bribery. 

Alfredo Thorne was removed over claims that he had sought to pressure Peru's comptroller into supporting a contract for the construction of an airport near the colonial city of Cuzco. The comptroller, Edgar Alarcón, has also been ousted over corruption charges. (EuroNews, July 8; Andina, Peru21, July 7; Japan Times, July 6; Jurist, July 4; LAHT, June 16)

The imprisoned leader of the Shining Path guerillas, Abimael Guzmán, is meanwhile fighting an attempt by prosecutors to have him slapped with an additional life sentence for a 1992 bombing in Lima that killed 25 people. Although already serving a life term as leader of the Shining Path insurgency, Guzmán is denying any responsibility in the car-bomb attack on Tarata Street in the upscale district of Miraflores. He told the judge hearing the case: "I had nothing to do with Tarata. When will you understand?" (RPP, June 28; VOA, Feb. 28)