Monday, March 25, 2013

Peru: Imprisoned Ex-President Cancer Free Says Doctors

The odds that imprisoned former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori could receive a pardon may have gotten a lot slimmer after the results of a medical report were published yesterday.

According to a study conducted by twelve specialists, the ex-president “was suffering from tongue cancer…although no current evidence of the disease exists.”

The report on Fujimori, who is serving prison sentences on charges ranging from bribery to human rights abuses, also concluded that he was going through various ailments such as chronic gastritis and hypertension.

Furthermore, three of the five psychiatrists who examined Fujimori found that he is suffering from a “deep depression with suicidal tendencies.”  The psychiatry team was nevertheless divided as to whether Fujimori’s mental state is “recurring but moderate” or requiring “constant surveillance” over him.

The report was revealed by the local Cuarto Poder television newsmagazine program days before the Commission on Presidential Pardons is expected to emit its recommendation over the imprisonment of the former president.

The Fujimori family claimed they would not provide a public comment to the report even though last year they filed the request for a pardon.  Yet congressman Kenji Fujimori insisted in an interview that his father does have cancer and that the combination of maladies affecting him justifies a presidential pardon.

As to be expected regarding such a divisive figure like Fujimori, getting him to undergo a comprehensive medical exam was not without its controversy.  The ex-president failed to convince prison authorities to allow his personal physicians to take part in the group of doctors examining him.

Unsurprisingly, the results of the medical report have had its share of supporters and detractors in Peru.  Among the former is Fujimori’s personal doctor, Alejandro Aguinaga:

“(The study) doesn’t say that Alberto Fujimori is free of cancer as have been reported by biased media reports against my patient.  At this time the sickness does not exist but he does have a recurring cancer.”
According to Ronald Gamarra, attorney for the victims of the Barrios Altos and La Cantuta massacres, the report “archives any request for a presidential pardon”…

Much like Gamarra, former prosecutor Avelino Guillén observed that “based on the report we can conclude that Mr. Fujimori does not qualify for a pardon”.
“The doctors were quite clear in mentioning that he is free of any oncological ailment.”
The decision regarding whether Fujimori receives a pardon or not sits squarely with current Peruvian President Ollanta Humala.  In recent months he has been largely quiet over the pardon issue though in June 2011, then-President-elect Humala said he would consider a pardon on humanitarian grounds. 

Humala’s remarks two years ago occurred days after he narrowly beat Keiko Fujimori in a highly contentious presidential race.  The former army officer had accused the Keiko of wanting to return Peru to the days of authoritarianism and corruption of her father.  The congresswoman, meanwhile, employed her own scaremongering tactics by trying to negatively link Humala to then-Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.

Video Source– YouTube via Al Jazeera English

Online Sources – The Latin Americanist, Europa Press, BBC News,, RPP, Reuters, New York Times

No comments: