Peru’s constitutional court ordered the immediate release of former President Alberto Fujimori, who is serving a 25-year sentence for human rights abuses and corruption, according to a court document published on Tuesday.
“This Constitutional Court orders the National Penitentiary Institute and the director of the Barbadillo prison to order the immediate release of Alberto Fujimori,” said the court in a ruling released to the media.
Fujimori, 85, has been serving a 25-year prison sentence since 2007 for crimes against humanity, convicted for ordering the massacre of 25 people in 1991 and 1992 while his government was fighting against the Shining Path guerrillas. He received a presidential pardon in 2017, but pressure from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) repeatedly snarled his attempts to regain freedom.
He was also convicted of aggravated homicide and serious injuries for the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta cases. He was imprisoned in the Barbadillo prison in the district of Ate, in Lima.
The country’s highest court ruled that an appeal to restore a 2017 pardon for the ailing Fujimori on humanitarian grounds was “founded,” the document said.
Furimori’s lawyer, Elio Riera, said that Fujimori will probably be released on Wednesday.
“The former president is very calm,” Riera said on Tuesday outside the prison holding Fujimori. “He is very hopeful that this will be executed quickly.”
A deeply divisive figure in Peru, Fujimori’s pardon roiled the country, parts of which see him as a dictator and others as a hero, and sparked an outcry from the families of victims of the massacre.
Human rights activists criticized the ruling on Tuesday, which they said defies international organizations that have called for justice for victims of state violence.
“This is very serious for the rule of law. This is going to have international legal consequences,” said Carlos Rivera, a lawyer for the NGO Legal Defense Institute.