LIMA Peru’s President Ollanta Humala on Monday ruled out issuing a decision on whether to pardon imprisoned former leader Alberto Fujimori in the three days left in his term, leaving the politically delicate topic to his successor.
Humala, who will be replaced by centrist President-elect Pedro Pablo Kuczynski on Thursday, said in a broadcast interview that a serious evaluation of Fujimori’s pardon request would take at least a couple months.
“I can’t jump the gun,” Humala told journalist Augusto Alvarez Rodrich on local channel Frecuencia Latina. “We’re trying to act in accordance with the law and in good faith.”
The justice ministry said earlier that the presidential pardons committee had decided to study Fujimori’s case and was requesting his medical and penitentiary records.
Fujimori, who suffers from hypertension and turns 78 on Thursday, was jailed in 2007 and is serving a 25-year sentence for corruption and human rights abuses committed during his 1990-2000 government.
Kuczynski reiterated to journalists that he did not plan a pardon for Fujimori because it would clear the former authoritarian leader of convictions that include leading death squads that massacred civilians and using public funds to bribe tabloid journalists to smear opponents.
However, Kuczynski said he would sign legislation that allows aging prisoners like Fujimori to complete the rest of their sentences under house arrest.
Kuczynski, a 77-year-old former investment banker, narrowly beat Fujimori’s daughter Keiko Fujimori in a run-off presidential election last month that many voters saw as a referendum on her father’s legacy.
Despite Fujimori’s iron-fist rule, many Peruvians credit him with ending a painful period of hyperinflation and recession and quashing the bloody Shining Path insurgency.
Kuczynski will have to govern alongside a Congress controlled by the rightwing populist party that Alberto Fujimori founded nearly three decades ago and which Keiko Fujimori now leads.
Keiko Fujimori helped her father file his first request for a humanitarian pardon in 2012, which Humala rejected in 2013, but has not commented on his new appeal.
(Reporting By Mitra Taj; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)