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Freedom House Urges Peruvian President Humala Not to Pardon Ex-President Fujimori
Freedom House today released a public letter urging Peruvian president, Ollanta Humala, not to grant a presidential pardon to ex-President Alberto Fujimori, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for crimes against humanity.
October 25, 2012
The Honorable Ollanta Humala
President of the Republic of Peru
Dear. Mr. President:
As the international community anticipates your decision regarding the request for humanitarian pardon submitted by ex-President Alberto Fujimori’s family earlier this month, Freedom House asks you to commute the pardon to house arrest and consider the highest human rights standards in reviewing the pardon request.
Freedom House recognizes that during his term as president from 1990 to 2000, Fujimori was praised by the Peruvian people for eliminating the threat posed by the guerrilla group Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path); however, his successes came at the cost of corruption and authoritarianism. As you are aware, the Peruvian people and the international community welcomed the ruling by the Supreme Court in 2009, which sentenced Fujimori to 25 years in prison for crimes against humanity, kidnapping and corruption. The court found that he had authorized and sanctioned the massacres carried out by Grupo Colina, a death squad that killed 25 people in La Cantuta and Barrios Altos. The Inter-American Court on Human Rights also found Fujimori responsible for crimes against humanity for his role in the massacres.
Fujimori’s family argues that he suffers from tongue cancer and, though the disease is not in a terminal stage, they justify the pardon request on medical grounds. According to Peruvian law, a humanitarian pardon is granted only if a prisoner has a terminal illness or suffers from an incurable degenerative disease. Additionally, the law gives you, as president, the final word on the decision to grant a humanitarian pardon after considering a report submitted by the Pardon and Graces Commission, which analyzes each pardon application. The latest information for this report has been provided by Peru´s Ombudsman, Eduardo Vega, who declared that Fujimori will have two medical examinations today and confirmed that his prison conditions are adequate.
While your administration has appeared to treat the pardon as a strictly legal matter, Freedom House urges you to consider that granting a pardon would defy Peru’s obligation to meet international human rights standards, which have consistently excluded pardons for crimes against humanity in reconciliation processes in Guatemala, El Salvador and Sierra Leone, among other countries.
Lastly Freedom House encourages you to think about the impact that granting a humanitarian pardon to former President Fujimori will have on the advancement of human rights. The pardon will not only undermine the reconciliation achieved through the prosecution of human rights violations committed during his government, but would also represent a step backwards in Peru’s efforts to end impunity.
Your consideration of these concerns is greatly appreciated.
David J. Kramer
President of Freedom House