On Friday, Peru’s opposition leader Keiko Fujimori was released from prison after being locked up for more than a year following allegations that she accepted unlawful campaign funds from Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht.
Fujimori, who has been incarcerated since October 2018, left a prison in the Chorrillos district of Lima, the country’s capital. She was met by her husband, who had been on a hunger strike calling for her release.
Fujimori said her 13 months behind bars was the “most painful time of [her] life,” the AP reports.
Last week, the Constitutional Tribunal voted 4-3 for her release. According to the court, their decision on a habeas corpus request does not find Fujimori guilty or innocent and the politician still faces additional jail time.
While Fujimori had denied accusations that she laundered $1.2 million provided by Odebrecht for her 2011 and 2016 presidential campaigns, Al Jazeera reports that the construction firm has admitted to giving Latin American politicians significant funds in exchange for contracts.
Before her imprisonment, Fujimori, the leader of the right-wing Popular Force party, was a mighty political force in the South American country. These days, the daughter of former Peruvian authoritarian President Alberto Fujimori, who is serving a 25-year sentence for human rights crimes and corruption, has seen a decline in support.
Still, her conservative Popular Force party held a majority in Congress before President Martin Vizcarra dissolved the legislature in September after accusing the body of blocking his efforts to curb corruption.
While Fujimori is not expected to run in the race, her release could invigorate the Popular Force, which announced it would participate in the election regardless of analyst projections that the party won’t do well at the polls.