Thousands of Peruvians Protest the Pardon of Former President Fujimori

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On Christmas day protesters and police clashed in Peru’s capital as the news of the pardon of former President Alberto Fujimori, (1990-2000), was announced.

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The 79-year-old ex-president, who was serving a 25-year sentence for orchestrating a hit squad that killed 25 people, was pardoned based on his health. He was sent to intensive care for low blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat this past week.

His pardon has sparked protests from those who believe the former authoritarian president should serve his sentence completely. The decision for clemency comes a week after President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski was voted not to be impeached by the Congress of the Republic. Kuczynski was accused of receiving illegal payments from the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht. To be impeached 87 votes are needed, he won 79 votes in favor, 19 against and 21 abstentions. Kuczynski survived, in part, because a total of 10 lawmakers from Kenji Fujimori's party abstained, which include the former president’s children.

Kenji Fujimori has long pushed for his father's release from prison, and many of Kuczynski's opponents say the pardon is the reason for the abstentions that stopped the tracks of impeachment.

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In a video recorded from a hospital bed, he thanked the President for his humanitarian gesture and acknowledged that he disappointed many during his campaign and apologized to them from the bottom of his heart.