Peru's jailed ex-president Fujimori faces Christmas in hospital

Lima (AFP) –


The condition of Peru's jailed ex-president Alberto Fujimori improved on Sunday but doctors said he would still spend the Christmas period in intensive care.

Fujimori, serving a 25-year sentence for corruption and human rights abuses, was transferred from his cell to a clinic Saturday suffering from low blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat. The 79-year-old had suffered a "sudden drop of pressure with marked arrhythmia," doctors said.

"He is making adequate progress in the intensive care unit," said his physician Alejandro Aguinaga. "He will remain hospitalized for as long as necessary, until he has stabilized."

Fujimori, in office from 1990 to 2000 and imprisoned since 2005, was admitted amid rumors that he could be pardoned this Christmas.

Speculation about a pardon arose after his lawmaker son Kenji broke ranks with the ex-president's daughter Keiko, who leads the Peruvian opposition and was pushing last week to impeach President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

That allowed Kuczynski to survive a Congressional session on whether to impeach him. Analysts debated whether the president would pay off his political debt to Kenji Fujimori by pardoning his disgraced father.

Fujimori has been admitted to hospital on several previous occasions, the last time in September.

Despite his conviction for human rights abuses, Fujimori retains a level of popularity in Peru for having defeated the Marxist guerillas of The Shining Path and for stabilizing the economy after a period of crisis.