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Peru ex-president Fujimori leaves prison after pardon reinstated

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Former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori, 85, was freed from prison on Wednesday after a court reinstated a pardon of his 25-year sentence for crimes against humanity.

Fujimori, who served from 1990 to 2000 and is now in poor health, left the Barbadillo prison in Lima and was greeted by his children Keiko and Kenji.

They drove away in a gray truck that moved slowly through a crowd of cheering supporters, AFP reporters observed.

“Our heart is bursting with joy, because this man was imprisoned unfairly,” said one supporter who gave her name only as Nikita.

Fujimori was sent to prison in 2009 over massacres committed by army death squads in 1991 and 1992 in which 25 people, including a child, were killed in supposed anti-terrorist operations.

On Tuesday the Constitutional Court ordered him freed for humanitarian reasons, reinstating a pardon that was first granted in 2017 but revoked by the Supreme Court two years later.

Fujimori, who is of Japanese heritage, has divided Peruvians like few other ex-leaders.

For some, he bolstered economic growth through his neo-liberal economic policies, and deserves praise for crushing left-wing rebel groups.

Others remember with loathing his ruthless, authoritarian government style.

Earlier Tuesday the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, based in Costa Rica, urged Peru not to immediately free him, seeking time to assess the Peruvian court ruling.

Last year, the Constitutional Court had ordered Fujimori’s release on humanitarian grounds, but the Inter-American court urged Peru not to free him, and the Peruvian government went along with that request.

This time the government ignored that court and freed the aging exp-president.

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