December 17, 2016 / 1:59 AM / 9 months ago

Peru rejects new request to pardon imprisoned Fujimori

People attend a rally demanding the release of former President Alberto Fujimori in Lima, Peru, July 22, 2016. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

LIMA (Reuters) - The centrist government of President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said Friday that it has rejected a new request to free imprisoned former authoritarian leader Alberto Fujimori filed by a supporter because it did not meet basic requirements.

Justice Minister Marisol Perez Tello said the paperwork reached the government early this month but was declared inadmissible days ago because it lacked the signature of Fujimori or one of his relatives.

“It is another process that unfortunately ends ... because of reasons of form and without a decision on the core issue,” Perez told reporters in comments broadcast on TV station Canal N.

The announcement comes ahead of a meeting between Kuczynski and Fujimori’s daughter, opposition leader Keiko Fujimori - raising the possibility of a pardon being on the negotiating table as they seek to ease hostilities after her rightwing party ousted Kuczynski’s education minister on Thursday.

Kuczynski, who had a razor-thin victory against Keiko Fujimori in a June runoff election, said before taking office that he would not sign a pardon to clear her father of convictions for human rights violations and corruption even if the pardons committee recommends doing so.

However, Kuczynski has said he would sign a bill that allows aging prisoners like Fujimori to carry out their sentences from home.

Keiko Fujimori’s party, Popular Force, controls an absolute majority in the single-chamber Congress but has yet to propose any such legislation.

The most recent request to release Alberto Fujimori, 78, came from one of his supporters who asked Kuczynski to pardon him or put him under house arrest because of health problems, the magazine Hildebrandt en sus trece reported.

It was unclear if Alberto or Keiko Fujimori was aware of it.

Fujimori, who fired his attorney this year after two requests for a pardon were rejected by the previous president, could not be reached for comment.

Keiko Fujimori’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

Earlier on Friday, Peru’s conservative Catholic Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani announced that Keiko Fujimori and Kuczynski had agreed to meet face-to-face in his home to seek a political truce.

Keiko Fujimori had turned down previous proposals to talk with Kuczynski since losing her second presidential bid to him after a divisive election that many saw as a referendum on her father’s decade-long authoritarian rule.

Keiko Fujimori had distanced herself from her father during her 2016 campaign, upsetting some of his hardline supporters.

Reporting by Mitra Taj; Edting by Bernard Orr

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