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Thousands protest in Peru against ex-President’s pardon

IANS | Lima |

Thousands of people took to the streets across Peru to protest against the pardon granted to former President Alberto Fujimori, which exempts him from completing a 25-year prison sentence for human rights violations.

In Lima, some 6,000 people demonstrated peacefully on Monday. It ended with at least one arrest and the police dispersed the demonstration with tear gas, reports Efe news.

The protesters at first wanted to march towards the Government Palace, headquarters of the executive, or to the clinic in which Fujimori is hospitalised, but instead was ended in front of the Palace of Justice.

The demonstrators demanded that the pardon be quashed, given that it favours impunity for Fujimori.

He was sentenced in 2009 to 25 years in prison for his responsibility in the massacres of 25 people in Barrios Altos in 1991 and La Cantuta in 1992, perpetrated by the undercover military group Colina, and the kidnapping of a journalist and a businessman in 1992.

President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski signed the pardon for Fujimori, 79, on Sunday, only three days after he narrowly survived an impeachment vote by Congress, due to the 10 votes from Fujimori’s party, led by Kenji Fujimori, son of the former president, who had called on several occasions for a pardon for his father.

The pardon was granted for humanitarian reasons, allegedly because Fujimori is suffering from a “progressive, degenerative and incurable disease” and is at risk of aggravation due to prison conditions, according to a statement from the Presidency of Peru.

According to the report by the medical board that recommended the pardon, Fujimori is suffering from paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, hypertension, mitral insufficiency, tongue cancer that has needed six operations and a lumbar hernia.

Fujimori was transferred on December 22 from the prison and is currently hospitalised in a clinic in Lima, where on Sunday his children brought him the news of the pardon.

Demonstrations against the pardon also took place in other cities such as Arequipa, Ayacucho, Puno, Tacna and Trujillo, among others.