Peru’s Constitutional Court orders the immediate release of former President Alberto Fujimori

By December 5, 2023

Peru’s Constitutional Court (TC), the highest interpreter of the Constitution, ordered on Tuesday, December 5, the immediate release of Alberto Fujimori, an 85-year-old former president sentenced to 25 years in prison for crimes against humanity.

In March 2022, the Peruvian TC had already ruled in favor of Fujimori’s release, but a subsequent resolution from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) halted his release from the Barbadillo prison, located in the Ate district.

In the resolution of October 5, the TC denied that the IACHR has the authority to demand that Fujimori not be released. Therefore, it ordered the National Penitentiary Institute of Peru (INPE) and the director of Barbadillo to “arrange” his “immediate release.”

The resolution also states that Fujimori “has already served approximately two-thirds of his sentence, as well as being of advanced age (85 years) and in fragile health.” The sentence against Fujimori was originally due to be completed in February 2032.  

INPE Chief Javier Llaque reported that due to administrative issues, Fujimori will not be released on Tuesday, December 5, but could be released on Wednesday, December 6.

Fujimori is serving a lengthy sentence for crimes against humanity.
Fujimori was serving a lengthy sentence for crimes against humanity.

According to sources from the El Comercio newspaper, the Executive Branch, led by President Dina Boluarte, will comply with the judgment.

In statements to Ojo Público, constitutional lawyer Ana Neyra said it is likely that the IACHR will issue another resolution demanding that the Peruvian state comply with its judgment.

She also mentioned that if the government supports the TC, the IACHR will have to inform the situation to the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) for it to take action against the non-compliance.

Outside the Palace of Justice, hundreds of people are protesting against the release.

Who is Alberto Fujimori and why is he in jail?

Alberto Fujimori was a Peruvian politician who served as the President of Peru from 1990 to 2000. He is known for implementing economic reforms that stabilized the country’s economy but also for his authoritarian style of governance. Fujimori fled to Japan in 2000 amid a corruption scandal involving his intelligence chief, Vladimiro Montesinos.

In 2005, Alberto Fujimori was arrested in Chile and extradited to Peru to face charges related to human rights abuses and corruption during his presidency. In 2007, he was convicted of ordering illegal searches and wiretaps, as well as for authorizing a paramilitary death squad responsible for extrajudicial killings. He was also found guilty of embezzlement and bribery.

Fujimori was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2009 for his role in the human rights abuses and corruption scandals. His conviction marked a significant moment in the pursuit of justice for past abuses in Peru.