Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, who was pardoned last year for human rights abuses, may soon face another trial.
A Peruvian court ruled Monday that Fujimori could be tried over killings from the early ’90s despite a pardon by Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.
The issue at stake is the January 29, 1992, kidnappings, torture and killings of six people in the central Peruvian town of Pativilca, according to state-run news agency Andina.
At least 22 others, including Fujimori, are due to stand trial over the deaths. The court called the massacre a “human rights” crime.
Fujimori is accused having a role in the authorizing the killings. Prosecutors are seeking a sentence of 25 years in jail for Fujimori. along with reparations to the victims’ families.
His attorney, Miguel Pérez Arroyo, said Fujimori might appeal the court’s decision, according to Andina.
Protests over pardon
In December, Kuczynski pardoned Fujimori, 79, who was serving a 25-year prison sentence for human rights abuses, as a humanitarian gesture.
At the time, Kuczynski’s office issued a statement, saying the former Peruvian strongman “suffers from a progressive, degenerative and incurable disease,” adding “prison conditions mean a serious risk to his life, health and integrity.”
Outrage over Fujimori’s pardon led to two nights of heated protests in the capital, Lima. Protesters and police clashed, and authorities threw tear gas canisters at the crowd.
After Monday’s ruling, Keiko Fujimori, daughter of the ex-ruler, called the decision regrettable via Twitter.
“I trust that my father will be acquitted in a trial without political pressure.” she said, adding that the court’s move “should not be an excuse to re-imprison a man of advanced age and delicate health. Alberto Fujimori deserves to face this trial in freedom.”
But Erika Guevara Rosas, director of the Americas at Amnesty International, praised the ruling.
“Today the victims, families and Peruvian society have achieved an important step towards justice and preserving the memory of the victims of these crimes,” the human rights official said.
“We will continue to support the demands for justice until the truth about the crimes that occurred in Pativilca is established and the rights of the victims and their families are guaranteed.”
An authoritarian figure
Fujimori is a polarizing figure in Peru, which he led from 1990 to 2000. His strong hand is credited with defeating the Shining Path terrorists who destabilized the country, and his austere economic policies reined in hyperinflation.
But the former President had an authoritarian streak and used security forces to repress opponents.
In 2009, a special supreme court tribunal sentenced him to 25 years in prison for authorizing the operation of a death squad responsible for killing civilians.
In all, Fujimori has been convicted in four different criminal trials.
In addition to the human rights conviction that saw him sentenced to 25 years, in separate trials Fujimori was found guilty of breaking into the home of a former spy chief to steal incriminating videos, taking money from the government treasury to pay the spy chief and authorizing illegal wiretaps and bribing lawmakers and journalists.