Peru’s President Pardons Alberto Fujimori, Enraging Critics

Mr. Fujimori, 79, would have remained in prison until age 93 if he had served his full sentence.

Suffering from arrhythmia, tongue cancer and other ailments, Mr. Fujimori had requested a humanitarian pardon. He was taken from his prison cell to a hospital on Friday after a drop in blood pressure, doctors said.

In a statement, Mr. Kuczynski’s office said that a medical board had determined “that Mr. Fujimori suffers from a progressive, degenerative and incurable disease and that the prison conditions mean a serious risk to his life, health and integrity.” The board’s conclusions were presented to a presidential pardon commission, which recommended that Mr. Fujimori and seven other inmates be pardoned “for humanitarian reasons.”

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President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski of Peru speaking Thursday to the opposition-led Congress in Lima.

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Mariana Bazo/Reuter

Ronald Gamarra, a human rights lawyer and anti-corruption prosecutor, dismissed that characterization. “This pardon is fake and under no circumstance should it be considered a humanitarian pardon,” Mr. Gamarra said. “It is a political pardon.”

A son of Japanese immigrants, Mr. Fujimori was an obscure agricultural engineer and political novice when he ran for the presidency in 1990. He stunned the nation by placing a close second in a crowded field and then defeating the establishment favorite, the novelist Mario Vargas Llosa, in a runoff.

In office, Mr. Fujimori helped tame hyperinflation, unemployment and mismanagement; unleashed economic growth and a rise in standards of living; and curbed the cocaine trade.

But he also ran roughshod over Peru’s laws and institutions. He was lauded for suppressing two uprisings, the Shining Path and the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, but the brutality of his methods drew criticism worldwide and ultimately landed him in prison.

Mr. Fujimori, forced from…

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