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Fujimori victims to petition pope during Peru visit

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By Agence France-Presse

Relatives of victims of Peru’s military death-squads under Alberto Fujimori said Wednesday they would petition the pope when he visits next week for help in getting a pardon for the ex-president annulled.

A relatives’ group has requested a meeting with Pope Francis during the second leg of his South American trip to Chile and Peru next week.

The December 24 pardon sparked a wave of protest in Peru. Fujimori was released after serving less than half of a 25-year sentence for human rights abuses.

“We are going to request an audience with the pope to share all this concern because the government’s pardon is taking away the right to justice and reconciliation,” organizer Gisela Ortiz told reporters.

“What we want is that the pope, in his speech, says that justice is needed here,” said Ortiz, whose sister was among 25 supposed guerrillas and sympathizers killed in 1991 and 1992 by military death squads.

Fujimori was found responsible and jailed in 2009.

Ortiz said they were hopeful of a reception from the 81-year-old Argentine pontiff, as his own country suffered crimes against humanity during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship.

Victims’ relatives are appealing the pardon to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which sits in Costa Rica and will hear their case on February 2. (AFP)