Peru’s prosecutor suspended, amid controversy over Alberto Fujimori’s freedom

Diagnosed with tongue cancer, atrial fibrillation and hypertension, among other ailments, the 85-year-old former president left Barbadillo prison, east of Lima, before nightfall.

The National Board of Justice of Peru suspended the attorney general, Patricia Benavides, for six months on the night of this Wednesday, December 6, who was investigated for an alleged case of influence peddling and political favors.

The suspension of Benavides seeks to ensure that a disciplinary procedure followed for the alleged leadership of a criminal network develops normally and “prevents its obstruction,” the statement added.

The president of Peru, Dina Boluarte, spoke a week ago against the continuation of the office of the attorney general in question.

Benavides presented to Congress, on November 27, a complaint accusing Boluarte of the alleged crime of homicide, which was responsible for suppressing the protests against his government, which left more than 50 dead after he came to power a year ago.

The complaint against Boluarte was activated after Benavides was accused by a prosecutor of leading an alleged criminal network rooted above the prosecutor’s office, where he allegedly influenced Congressional sales and exchanged political favors.

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Fujimori left the prison

Just this Wednesday, Peru’s elderly former president Alberto Fujimori, sentenced to 25 years in prison for crimes against humanity, was released under the protection of a pardon granted for humanitarian reasons, despite opposition to the inter-American justice system.

Wearing a mask and connected by a tube to an oxygen tank, Fujimori left the prison with his children Keiko and Kenji, in a gray van that slowly drove through a crowd of followers.

“My father’s health is weak. The most important thing now is to take care of him and let him recover slowly. We know that your best therapy is the love of your family,” Keiko told the press after arriving at her home with the former president.

Fujimori was freed again by order of the Constitutional Court, which on Tuesday restored the pardon granted to him in 2017 for humanitarian reasons. The former government of Pedro Pablo Kuczynski granted him the grace to appeal, but the Peruvian justice system reversed the move a year ago in response to a request from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR Court) in favor of victims of Fujimori, who ruled with an iron hand between 1990 and 2000.

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This Wednesday, the Inter-American Court requested that Peru refrain from releasing Fujimori until it reviews the legality of the Constitutional Court’s decision. However, Dina Bluarte’s government allowed his release, despite protests by human rights organizations.

“We firmly state that the country reaffirms its commitment to the system of promotion and protection of human rights, at the regional and universal level,” stated Foreign Minister Javier González-Olaechea.

Last week, the Constitutional Court ordered Fujimori’s release, but Judge Vicente Fernández declared himself incompetent to allow his release from prison.

The case was re-examined by the magistrates of that court, who issued their final verdict on Tuesday. Fujimori was released from prison again after almost four years. In January 2019 he returned to prison after his pardon was revoked.

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In addition to humanitarian reasons, the Constitutional Court alleged that Fujimori had already served “approximately two-thirds of his sentence.” Almost 25 years after leaving power, the former president still divides Peruvians.

“In these moments that we live in the country, the pardon as given is like a slap in the face of the country that hurts our soul. In the country, if there is a judicial sentence, it is enforced until the last day, there is no privilege for anyone,” said the Cardinal of Peru, Pedro Barreto.