Peru's ex-president Fujimori in court over 1992 massacre

Lima (AFP) –


Peruvian ex-president Alberto Fujimori, just four months out of prison under a controversial pardon, was in court Friday facing charges linked to the killing of seven farmers in 1992.

Fujimori, president from 1990-2000, had been serving a 25-year prison sentence for crimes that included commanding death squads that killed suspected civilian sympathizers of leftwing guerrillas his regime was fighting.

The ex-president was pardoned on December 24 by then-president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski on humanitarian grounds because of ill health.

A criminal court, however, later ruled that Kuczynski's pardon did not apply to the case of the slain farmers.

Kuczynski's pardon was seen by many as a quid pro quo for help from Fujimori's lawmaker son Kenji to defeat an impeachment vote in Congress. Kuczynski nevertheless was forced to resign in March over alleged corruption.

In Friday's hearing prosecutors asked the court to order Fujimori, now 79, to remain in Peru until the case is finalized.

Fujimori said he had no intention of leaving the country but the prosecution noted that he was renewing his passport.

In 2000, in the final days of his presidency, Fujimori -- who is of Japanese ancestry -- flew to Japan and resigned the presidency via fax. He later obtained Japanese citizenship.

Despite his controversial presidency, which included notorious cases of corruption, Fujimori earned respect from many Peruvians for his ruthless campaign to defeat two leftist guerrilla groups.