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(CNN Español) –– Former President Alberto Fujimori, 85, was released from prison on Wednesday after Peru's Constitutional Court ordered his immediate release. Fujimori, who has been imprisoned since 2007, has been convicted of several crimes, including the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta crimes committed during his government, which earned him a 25-year prison sentence.
- Constitutional Court Orders Immediate Release of Alberto Fujimori, Former President of Peru
His release from prison occurs because the constitutional court's ruling ratifies a previous ruling by the same court, issued in March 2022, which restored the effects of the humanitarian pardon granted to Fujimori in December 2017 by then-President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, which the Peruvian justice system annulled a year later. after which Fujimori returned to prison.
Days after the first decision, on April 7, 2022, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) asked the Peruvian State to refrain from implementing the ruling.
A divisive figure
Alberto Fujimori, the son of Japanese immigrants, was president of Peru from 1990 to 2000. The president resigned from the presidency via fax in 2000 after corruption scandals became public through the so-called "vladivideos," a collection of home videos made by his adviser Vladimiro Montesinos, which brought down Fujimori after a decade in power.
His strong hand is credited with defeating the Shining Path terrorists who destabilized the country, and his austere economic policies that curbed hyperinflation.
However, the former president also has a stain of authoritarianism and used security forces to suppress his opponents.
In 2009, a special court of the Supreme Court sentenced him to 25 years in prison for crimes against humanity.
This includes "his role in the extrajudicial execution of 15 people in Lima's Barrios Altos district, the enforced disappearance and murder of 9 students and a professor at La Cantuta University, and two kidnappings," Human Rights Watch reported last July.
This was evidenced in a report by the Commission of Inquiry into the presidential administration of Alberto Fujimori, published in 2002. In that document, the Peruvian Congress concluded that there were "reasonable indications" to establish that during his term in office the president "had knowledge, ordered, arranged and/or consented to the criminal activities of the so-called 'Colina Group,'" whose members were the authors of the aforementioned events.
In separate trials, Fujimori was found guilty of breaking into the home of a former spy to steal incriminating videos, taking money from the government treasury to pay the spy chief, and authorizing illegal wiretapping, and bribing congressmen and journalists.
In 2015 he received another 8 years in prison for the crime of embezzlement for the so-called 'Chicha newspapers'. The Peruvian justice system accused him of diverting funds from the Armed Forces to the National Intelligence Service to buy the editorial line of publications in favor of re-election.
The 2002 congressional report had already said that during Fujimori's government "there was a policy paid for with state funds" to use the media as a political instrument to morally demolish opponents.
In 2017, Fujimori was spared a retrial for the sterilization of thousands of women during his rule.
Human rights groups allege that more than 2,000 women were forcibly sterilized during Fujimori's government in an attempt to reduce poverty by reducing the birth rate.
However, prosecutor Marco Guzmán concluded in 2014 that the Fujimori government did not commit crimes against humanity during that birth campaign to which 300,000 women voluntarily submitted.