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  • Protesters perform outside a court hearing arguments on former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori's pending trials in Lima.

    Protesters perform outside a court hearing arguments on former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori's pending trials in Lima. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 January 2018

A source close to President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has confirmed he met with the son of Alberto Fujimori just three months before Fujimori was pardoned.

A source close to Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has confirmed Kuczynski met with the son of former dictator Alberto Fujimori and his lawyer to discuss Fujimori's release from prison just three months before he was pardoned.

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The source told Reuters that Kenji asked Kuczynski to free his father in return for Kenji's political support in Congress during a critical impeachment vote on corruption charges.

Further talks resulted in Fujimori being pardoned by the president on "humanitarian grounds" after Kuczynski successfully defeated the impeachment process, albeit by a narrow margin: Kenji and nine other lawmakers voted against impeachment on December 21.

Kuczynski came under scrutiny after the Congressional Commission investigating Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht's network of corruption revealed he had received payments by Odebrecht when he was a state minister. The payments were made to Westfield Capital Ltd, a company owned by Kuczynski.

Shortly after, on Christmas eve, Kuczynski announced he was granting Fujimori a presidential pardon less than halfway into Fujimori's 25-year prison sentence for graft and human rights violations.

But the alliance between Kuczynski and Kenji goes beyond the pardon. During their September meeting, Kenji told Kuczynski that he and other Popular Force lawmakers could help him govern to the end of his term in 2021, according to the source.

Fujimori's absolution, however, is by no means set in stone. A Peruvian court held a hearing Friday on the Pativilca case, which relates to the murders of six Peruvian campesinos during Fujimori's government.

The justices are debating whether the pardon exempts Fujimori from being tried for the killings. Human rights organizations hope the case could effectively annul the pardon.

Fujimori, who ruled Peru between 1990 and 2000, has been connected with thousands of human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings and kidnappings. Under his command, at least 300,000 sterilizations were forced on Indigenous women between 1996 and 2000.

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