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Kenji Fujimori 'expelled' from sister's ruling party

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Lima (AFP)

Kenji Fujimori, the youngest son of recently pardoned ex-president Alberto Fujimori, said Tuesday that he was thrown out of the ruling party for clashing with its leader, his sister Keiko.

"It was unanimously decided that congressman Kenji Fujimori would be expelled from Fuerza Popular (Popular Force)," the lead party in Congress, Fujimori said on Twitter.

The populist-conservative FP began proceedings in December against Kenji Fujimori for having criticized his sister's position on President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

Fujimori refused to support the president's impeachment, which was debated December 21. The FP has the biggest group in the legislature.

But votes by Kenji and eight other lawmakers stopped Kuczynski, who the FP accuses of lying about matters related to the Brazilian multinational Odebrecht, from being removed from office.

Kuczynski had pledged not to pardon Alberto Fujimori. But he did so just days after Kenji Fujimori's vote in his favor, sparking speculation the pardon was a political quid pro quo.

The 79-year-old elder Fujimori was until recently serving a 25-year sentence for human rights abuses. He was hospitalized late last year and treated for various ailments. He left hospital January 16.

Kuczynski -- who defeated Keiko for the presidency in 2016 -- said he had pardoned the ex-president for humanitarian reasons.

The pardon has drawn heavy criticism from victims of his 1990-2000 rule, as well as their relatives and human rights advocates.

But he also earned respect from many Peruvians for his ruthless and unflinching campaign to defeat leftist guerrillas during his presidency.

Relatives of victims of those killed under Fujimori's rule 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.

Odebrecht, which was investigated by the US Justice Department, agreed to pay a $3.5 billion fine after admitting to giving $788 million in bribes across 12 countries to secure contracts.

The scandal has ensnared politicians in several countries, including Mexico, Panama, Peru and Venezuela.

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