Ex President Alberto Fujimori was hospitalized Sunday for treatment of low blood pressure and an intense pain in his shoulder. Preliminary tests on Monday at the private Japanese-Peruvian Clinic showed that he is suffering from hemorrhagic gastritis.
Fujimori’s primary doctor, congressman and former Health minister Alejandro Aguinaga, said more tests will be made over the next 48 hours, but that the endoscopy detected two lesions that appear to be benign. The pain in the shoulder, Aguinaga said, is from a fall over a year ago in the Diroes prison.
Fujimori, 78, is serving a 25-year prison sentence in a small private compound within the Police’s Special Operations HQ, Diroes, in east Lima. He was convicted in April 2009 on charges of crimes against humanity — the killings of Barrios Altos and La Cantuta —and the forced kidnapping of a businessman and a journalist during the early part of his presidency.
The former President is not permitted to have a direct telephone line but has little or no limitations on the number of visitors he receives. In late 2015 and during the months building up to his daughter Keiko Fujimori’s presidential campaign, he received an average of 200 or more visitors a month.
Since his conviction, the Fujimori family and his supporters have repeatedly campaigned for a presidential pardon, or at the very least for house arrest, on the grounds of his age and ill health. At one time, his frequent visits by ambulance to the state cancer hospital and the wide media coverage of these events led the cancer hospital board to call a press conference to state that Fujimori suffered from lesions on his tongue but that the lesions were by no means cancerous nor a threat to his life.
Fujimori’s first formal request for a pardon was turned down by President Humala in June 2013, on the legal grounds of the conviction and also because he had no life-threatening illness. The President also commented that Fujimori’s prison quarters were the most comfortable in the entire country.
Fujimori again filed for pardon just days before Humala was due to leave the presidency in July this year, and the request was deferred to the new administration.
His supporters, however, continue to campaign for his release. A candlelight vigil was held last week on the steps of the Cathedral on Lima’s Plaza de Armas, following a service in the sanctuary next to the Cathedral.
Fujimoristas fully expected his release from prison when his daughter Keiko and the Popular Force party were leading in the polls during the presidential campaign earlier this year — although not mentioned in the platform in 2016, Keiko openly campaigned for her father’s release when she ran for the presidency in 2011.
When the Fujimoristas won the majority in Congress in April this year, congress member Cecilia Chacón shouted out that Fujimori now “has to leave (prison) by the front door.” In the presidential run-off, however, a series of mistakes by the Fujimori party led to a drop in the polls and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski scraped by to victory.
President Kuczynski said on several occasions during his campaign that considerations of ill health could lead to a decision to grant Fujimori house arrest rather than serving the remainder of his sentence in prison, but he also said that a pardon was not possible. Shortly after the presidential inauguration, Fujimori’s lawyer announced that they would no longer seek a pardon.