A few days before Peruvian President Ollanta Humala is due to leave office, left-wing leader Veronika Mendoza, spoke out Sunday against the possibility that he could pardon former President Alberto Fujimori, who is serving a prison sentence for crimes against humanity and abuse of power.
“I hope that Mr. Humala won't do it because that would be immoral, that would be betraying the Peruvian people,” said the leader of the Broad Front and former presidential candidate.
She suggested that Fujimori's political faction was negotiating with the government in a bid to avoid further investigations during the next presidential term.
“We have to remember that Alberto Fujimori has been detained because he ordered the killing of innocent people,” she added.
A few minutes earlier, President-elect Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, due to take office on July 28, confirmed that he would not sign a pardon for Fujimori, “although Fujimori was entitled to make a formal request.”
He repeated that his position had not changed, unless Congress were to pass a general bill that would allow such criminals to finish their sentences at home when they reached an advanced age.
He also denied that the matter has ever been raised during his meetings with Humala.
Various relatives of the victims also urged Humala not to grant Fujimori a pardon. “Maybe they are trying to negotiate something—we have to admit that he is ending his term quite politically weakened: he does not have support in Congress, nor in the population, and his wife is under investigation,” said Gisela Ortiz, sister of Luis Enrique, a student kidnapped and killed in 1992.
On Monday, the Justice Ministry's commission on presidential pardons accepted the request to examine Fujimori's request and ordered the corresponding medical exams. However, Fujimori's state of health has officially been stable since 2013, except for allegedly suffering from depression.
According to lawyer Ronald Gamarra, Fujimori's move came “out of despair,” trying to take advantage of the change of administrations as he failed via judicial procedures. Although Humala could be tempted to accept the deal in a bid to avoid issues with the Fujimori faction in Congress when he leaves office, the expert believes the president will likely resist Fujimori's blackmailing, as he did three years earlier.