Peru: Fujimori pardon revoked; struggle continues

Peru's Supreme Court of Justice on Oct. 3 overturned (PDF) the December 2017 pardon of ex-dictator Alberto Fujimori, and ordered that he be returned to prison. Human rights advocates hailed the ruling, but the ex-dictator's supporters and his politically powerful daughter, Keiko Fujimori, gathered outside his home in Lima to condemn it. "This is persecution against my family," Keiko said. Alberto himself implored President Martín Vizcarra not to return him to prison, saying his "heart would not cope." The former strongman spoke in a video address from a private clinic where he is undergoing treatment for heart disease and under police guard. Fujimori's attorney has appealed the pardon's annulment The fujimorista bloc in Congress is drafting a law to make the pardon permanent, but this is on dubious constitutional grounds and arguably violates the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights. (Jurist, Diario Uno, Oct. 6; Reuters, Oct. 4; NYT, Oct. 3)

Meanwhile, survivors of the "dirty war" prosecuted by Fujimori and his predecessors continue to seek justice for the crimes of that period. One current campaign is to block right-wing candidate Daniel Urresti, accused in the 1988 assassination of journalist Hugo Bustíos, from running for mayor of Lima. His daughter Sharmelí Bustíos appealed to Poder Judicial, Peru's justice department, to reverse the Oct. 4 acquittal of Urresti in the case, which frees him to run in the upcoming mayoral race with the right-populist party Podemos Perú. Urresti was charged with being the army officer who ordered the extrajudicial execution of Bustíos in a hamlet in Ayacucho region, where he was covering Peru's internal conflict. (Diario Uno, Oct. 6; Committee to Protect Journalists, Oct. 4)

The struggles over land and waer that were at the root of Peru's internal conflict also continue. In one welcome development in northern Cajamarca region, 12 ronderos (village self-defense activists) from the hamlet of Yagén, Celendin province, were acquitted of "aggravated kidnapping"—a charge frequently used against protesters who block roads or occupy development sites. The charges were brought in 2014 in response to protests against construction of the Chadín II hydroelectric project on the headwaters of the Río Marañon.. (EarthRights International, Oct. 3)

AIDESEP, Peru's alliance of Amazonian indigenous peoples. is meanwhile calling for overturn of PL 2145, a reform of the Hydrocarbon Law passed in July to encourage investment in the oil sector. Among other measures, the new law extends the renewal of existing leases by 20 years, and instates an 80-year period for all new oil leases. It raises the standard of proof for annullment of existing leases on the basis of health of environmental impacts, in volation of the precautionary principle. And it shifts responsibility for paying damages to impacted communities from the oil companies to a new governmental Contingency Fund for Environenmental Remediation—which AIDESEP fears could be gutted by future budgetary austerity. The law was drafted by then-president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, just before he was forced to resign in a corruption scandal. (AIDESEP, Sept. 10; La República, Sept. 5)

Keiko Fujimori arrested —and released

Peru's Second Penal Chamber on Oct. 17  ordered the release of former Peruvian presidential candidate and opposition party leader Keiko Fujimori, following her arrest last week in an ongoing money laundering investigation. (Jurist)

Keiko Fujimori gets three years preventive detention

Keiko Fujimori was taken into custody on Oct 31 after a court ordered she be held in preventive detention for three years pending the outcome of a corruption probe. In ordering her detention, judge Richard Concepcion Carhuancho said there was a "serious suspicion" that Fujimori was running a "de facto criminal organization that is entrenched within" her Popular Force political party, and had laundered illicit money. (CNA)

Peru's ex-prez seeks asylum in Uruguay

Peru's ex-president Alan Garcia has requested asylum at the Uruguayan embassy after being barred from leaving the country. Garcia is accused of taking bribes from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht in exchange for contracts to build a metro line in Lima. The two-time president denies the charges and says he is the victim of political persecution. A court banned him from leaving Peru while an investigation is carried out. (BBC News)