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Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori released from prison on humanitarian grounds after 16 years

Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for human rights violations during his rule in the 1990s, was released on humanitarian grounds on Wednesday, a Reuters report said . Fujimori, who served nearly 16 years in prison after being extradited from Chile in 2007, was released after the court reinstated a controversial 2017 pardon.

The 85-year-old leader came out of the jail premises wearing a face mask and breathing tube and was accompanied by his son and daughter. Fujimori, a right-wing career politician, met with enthusiastic supporters who saw him as a savior from terrorism and economic collapse.

“Now is the time to end this injustice against Fujimori. Thanks to him, our country is on its feet,” Catalina Ponce, a Fujimori supporter waiting outside the prison, told Reuters.

However, critics argued that Fujimori undermined democracy and committed atrocities during his government’s struggle against Shining Path guerrillas.

Fujimori remains a divisive figure in Peru. While his policies stabilized the economy and ended hyperinflation, his regime included dissolving Congress, rewriting the Constitution, and military intervention to suppress guerrilla violence.

The Peruvian strongman was convicted in 2009 of ordering the massacre of 25 people in 1991 and 1992 during his government’s fight against the Shining Path.

In 2017, then-President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski pardoned him, paving the way for Fujimori to go free for nearly nine months before the court declared him void. Last week, Peru’s Constitutional Court reinstated the amnesty.

Genocide in the 1990s

In 1991, Fujimori allegedly masterminded a massacre in a poor Lima neighborhood. Masked soldiers indiscriminately shot dead 15 people, including an 8-year-old child, who had gathered at a social function.

The following year, in 1992, a secret military unit kidnapped and murdered nine students and one professor at Enrique Guzm├ín y Valle University. Forensic experts confirmed that the victims were tortured, shot in the back of the head and their remains were burned before being hidden in graves. Working under the cover of an architecture firm, this secret squad received financial support from Fujimori’s government.

“We live in an orphanage because we don’t have any kind of institution capable of protecting us,” Gisela Ortiz, the sister of one of Fujimori’s convicted victims, told The Associated Press. “Peru gives the image of a country where victims’ rights are not guaranteed and where human rights issues are of no importance.”

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