Thursday, August 5

Bolivian Justice Minister asks for 30 years in prison for Áñez

Correspondent in La Paz



The Bolivian Minister of Justice and Transparency, Iván Lima, has requested a sentence of 30 years in jail for Jeanine Áñez, an announcement that comes hours after it is known that the former president, who is in prison, has been sentenced to four months in preventive detention.

«Preventive detention is determined for the citizen Jeanine Añez Chávez in the Obrajes women’s orientation center (…) for the period of four months», Said the judge. The process against him includes crimes of terrorism, sedition and conspiracy that allegedly caused the resignation of Evo Morales to the presidency of that country in 2019.

The former Bolivian authority expressed through his Twitter account that he is sent to prison to await the trial for a ‘hit’ that did not occur. After knowing the determination of justice, Añez also asserted that the Movement for Socialism, Evo Morales’ political party, “decides and the judicial system obeys.”

In a hearing that lasted for more than ten hours, Judge Regina Santa Cruz agreed with the Public Ministry, which argues that there is a risk of escape of the former president. According to that authority, Añez was found in a home other than her own and with a suitcase containing her clothes, presumably in order to leave Bolivia.

Detained ministers

Former ministers Álvaro Coimbra and Rodrigo Guzmán, collaborators of the Añez Government, appeared before the courts at the same hearing. In the same way, it was ordered his preventive detention in a jail of the seat of government, in the city of La Paz. The first declared himself a “political prisoner by order of Evo Morales” and the current president of that country Luis Arce.

While the hearing was taking place on Sunday afternoon, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued a statement in which they recall that the State of Bolivia must ensure that detained persons have with guarantees to exercise their defense. Just a few hours earlier, the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and the High Commissioner for Human Rights have urged the authorities conducting the investigations to safeguard due process.

Along the same lines, the High Representative of the EU, Josep Borrell, stated that “the accusations by the facts of 2019 they must be resolved within the framework of justice and transparency ”.

Police operation

Jeanine Añez and her two former ministers were captured between Friday and early Saturday in operations carried out by the Bolivian Police. The orders were issued by the Public Ministry in a surprising way and the detainees denounced from the first moment that they were political persecuted and that due process was not being followed. Although they denounced this alleged extreme at the beginning of their hearing, the judge in charge considered their arguments “unfounded”.

The process against the former Bolivian authorities began last December, after Luis Arce assumed the presidency. A former deputy related to the ruling party filed a complaint in which she accuses them of generating violent acts that led to in the resignation of Evo Morales as president. While the opposition of that country has denounced that the government seeks to erase an “electoral fraud” and instead try to position a non-existent “coup d’etat.”

The Bolivian government expressed its interest that Jeanine Añez and her two former ministers be sentenced with the maximum penalty jail. The minister of justice of that country, Iván Lima affirmed that they are not looking for just four months of detention, but 30 years in prison. That authority also indicated that due process was complied with and it is guaranteed that the former authorities will be subjected to a fair trial.

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