Peru’s ex-president Fujimori could face jail, prosecution in new human rights case

World Today

Peru’s ex-president Fujimori could face jail, prosecution in new human rights case

A judge in Peru is deciding whether to send  former president Alberto Fujimori back to jail in the aftermath of his controversial pardon last month.

CGTN’s Dan Collyns has more.

With the ring of a bell, Judge Miluska Cano ended the hearing which could decide whether ex-president Alberto Fujimori will remain a free man. He had been serving a 25-year jail term for human rights crimes and corruption. On Christmas Eve, President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski pardoned the controversial former leader, citing health reasons.

But lawyers argued he should still face trial, along with 22 others accused, in a recently opened human rights case.

“We believe that the rights of the victims limit the president’s power to grant him a pardon,” said Gloria Cano, a lawyer for the victims’ families. “There are international measures which protect the victims’ right to justice in such cases.”

But the lawyer representing Fujimori said he could not go back to prison. “He would die in prison,” said Miguel Perez, Fujimori’s lawyer. “He is 80 years-old and has severe health problems which at the moment have not been questioned by any medical authority.”

Fujimori was convicted in 2009 for two massacres carried out by a military death squad under his command,  but there were more, including a case in which six men were abducted, tortured and killed in rural Pativilca in 1992.

“I don’t want to remember (that night). They didn’t say anything, they just ordered everyone out of the house, and they beat everyone. It was a gruesome scene,” remembered Jose Luis Aguero, the brother of one of the victims.

The memory weighs heavily on Aguero, who told CGTN how armed men took his older brother Pedro along with five other young men.

“I heard screams coming from the hill in front of my house, it was as if the hill was screaming when there’s normally silence in the early hours of the morning. They were torturing them because they screamed terribly, the men screamed as they were tortured with blowtorches, they were being burned. It was unbearable.”

He found their bodies strewn in this field the following day. A cross with their names marks the spot. But more than a quarter of a century later, Aguero is still fighting for justice.

Standing vigil outside the courtroom, activists and victims’ relatives demand that the pardoned former leader Alberto Fujimori be put back on trial for death squad massacre for which they hold him responsible. The judges have reserved judgement.