Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori is again demanding the pension bestowed upon all former heads of state, after Peru’s attorney general denied him such a benefit on multiple occasions. Fujimori is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence and awaiting a verdict on an unrelated case.
“He is not asking for charity–it is his right,” said attorney William Castillo, who now represents Fujimori and has repeatedly brought the issue up to the nation’s judiciary. Castillo has asserted that Fujimori “does not have a cent” and that it was an especial “cruelty” to deny a former president the pension that comes with the job.
Daniel Figallo, Peru’s attorney general, has given several reasons to deny the 75-year-old Fujimori his pension. Fujimori is currently serving a 25-year sentence for alleged kidnappings and assassinations committed during his presidential term, in which Peru was embroiled in a bloody battle with the Maoist guerrilla Shining Path. Pensions are also denied to those who are currently involved in legal proceedings. President Fujimori is currently standing trial on corruption charges involving a pamphlet made from jail.
“I have told the President that there is a judicial norm, established under the Fujimori administration and signed by him, in which it is decreed that presidential pensions are suspended when there is a constitutional accusation–of course it will be restored if he is declared innocent,” said Figallo. President Ollanta Humana requested Figallo’s report and has said that he will abide by the judgment of the attorney general.
Not all oppose giving Fujimori a pension, however, which is legally decreed to be the salary of one active legislator. “Formally, yes, he is entitled to it,” said former President Alan García, predecessor to incumbent Humala. “They can keep a part of the payments to pay for the legal proceedings, but he has a right and that is that. Many may disagree, but we must respect rights,” García said.
Fujimori is widely credited with preserving the unity and stability of the Peruvian government through his extended battle and ultimate defeat of Shining Path. Shining Path (“Sendero Luminosos”) was a Maoist terrorist guerrilla group that terrorized Peruvian peasants and committed mass attacks and bombings with the intention of replacing the Peruvian government with a communist dictatorship. Founded by Marxist professor Abimael Guzmán in the 1960s, Shining Path ultimately claimed the lives of 70,000 people, its reign of terror concluding after the Fujimori government captured Guzmán and publicly displayed him in a cage in a traditional prisoner’s uniform.