Peru’s Congress Passes Bill to Grant Fujimori House Arrest

(Bloomberg) -- Peru’s Congress rushed through a law to grant house arrest for some elderly convicts, as opposition lawmakers sought to prevent former autocrat Alberto Fujimori returning to jail after his political pardon was revoked.

Lawmakers voted 55-30 in favor of the law Thursday, mostly with votes from Popular Force, the party led by the former president’s daughter, Keiko Fujimori. The law allows women over the age of 70 and men over 75 to move freely within their home province wearing an electronic tag. They must have served at least a third of their sentence in jail.

Fujimori, 80, was granted a presidential pardon on health grounds in December, less than half way through a 25-year sentence for ordering two death-squad killings in 1992. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled in June the pardon was incompatible with Peru’s obligations to investigate the massacres, and last week a supreme court judge annulled the measure and ordered Fujimori be returned to prison.

Peru’s Congress Passes Bill to Grant Fujimori House Arrest

If signed into law, the legislation should be repealed as it was designed to benefit a specific individual, which is banned under the constitution, said Victor Garcia, a former president of the country’s Constitutional Tribunal. Recent rulings on the pardon state Peru must ensure those convicted for the massacres serve their time in jail, he said.

“It will be a Pyrrhic victory. The only thing it will do is prolong an unnecessary debate because the law was rushed and badly done," Garcia said.

The bill was presented three days ago by Popular Force, which controls Congress and was sent straight to the floor of Peru’s unicameral Congress for a vote. It bypassed the Justice Committee, enraging lawmakers from other parties.

Legislators from five of the seven parties in Congress said the bill needed greater analysis and debate at the committee level but were outvoted by lawmakers from Popular Force.

Fujimori was hospitalized hours after the Oct. 3 ruling and remains at a clinic in Lima. His daughter was arrested this week as part of a probe into illicit campaign donations.

Under the legislation, those convicted of certain crimes, including drug trafficking, terrorism, and treason, wouldn’t be eligible for house arrest. Popular Force lawmakers said the bill would benefit thousands of sick and aging prisoners.

Marisa Glave, a lawmaker with leftist New Peru party, said the law would grant impunity for others convicted of human rights abuses during Fujimori’s government. By allowing for the fast-track consideration of the bill, Congress violated its own procedures, leading to a censure motion to be signed against the president of Congress, Daniel Salaverry.

Carlos Bruce, with the governing party Peruvians for Change, said President Martin Vizcarra should veto it.

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