By Ashley Thompson
26 December, 2017

Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori asked for forgiveness on Tuesday for mistakes during his authoritarian rule of the country.

His statement came amid protests that began after Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski pardoned Fujimori on December 24.

Fujimori, 79, ruled Peru from 1990 to 2000. He is remembered both for improving the economy and defeating the leftist rebels Shining Path. He was convicted in 2007 of abuse of power and bribery and sentenced to six years in jail. In 2009, he was sentenced to another 25 years for human rights abuses.

The pardon cleared Fujimori of those crimes.

Thousands of Peruvians took to the streets Monday to protest the pardon. Many call it part of a deal reached to protect the current president from impeachment on corruption charges.

Demonstrators shouts slogans against pardon of former President Alberto Fujimori with photographs of people disappeared during his government, in Lima, Peru, Monday, Dec. 25, 2017.
Demonstrators shouts slogans against pardon of former President Alberto Fujimori with photographs of people disappeared during his government, in Lima, Peru, Monday, Dec. 25, 2017.

On Monday night, Kuczynski called for reconciliation, asking Peruvians who opposed the pardon to "turn the page." He also defended his decision on the basis of Fujimori's worsening health. He added that Fujimori's government helped Peru make progress.

On Tuesday, in a video published on Facebook, Fujimori promised that as a free man, he would support Kuczynski's calls for reconciliation. The statement suggested he would not return to politics.

Fujimori read the statement from a hospital bed. "I'm aware the results of my government were well received by some, but I acknowledge that I also disappointed other compatriots," he said. "And to them, I ask for forgiveness from the bottom of my heart."

The remarks were Fujimori's first direct apology to the nation.

I'm Ashley Thompson.

Reuters reported this story. Ashley Thompson adapted it for Learning English, with additional materials from the Associated Press. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

reconciliation - n. the act of causing two people or groups to become friendly again after an argument or disagreement

turn the page - idiom. to make a fresh start; to move on.

acknowledge - v. to say that you accept or do not deny the truth or existence of (something)

compatriot - n. a person from the same country as someone else