Bolivian ex-president Anez begins four-month detention over 'coup'…
Bolivia’s ex-president Anez begins four-month detention as she’s accused of plotting a ‘coup’ in 2019 to oust leftist leader Evo Morales from office
- Former Bolivian interim president Jeanine Áñez on Monday began four months of pre-trial detention
- Áñez was arrested Saturday morning over allegations she helped plot a coup that forced Evo Morales to resign as president in 2019
- Former Justice Minister Alvaro Coimbra and former Minister of Energy Rodrigo Guzmán were also apprehended Friday and placed in pre-trial detention
- Áñez, Coimbra and Guzmán have been charged with sedition, terrorism and conspiracy
Bolivia’s former interim president Jeanine Áñez was transferred to a jail Monday where she began four months of pre-trial detention as investigators review allegations that she helped plot a coup that forced Evo Morales to resign as president in 2019.
Áñez, who led a conservative government that lasted for less than a year after the ouster of Morales, a leftist, was apprehended Saturday morning at her home in the north-central city of Trinidad.
Bolivian judge Regina Santa Cruz feared Áñez could use her political influence to flee the South American nation and ordered her held following a court hearing Sunday. Prosecutors initially requested six months of pre-trial detention.
Former Justice Minister Alvaro Coimbra and ex-Minister of Energy Rodrigo Guzmán were apprehended Friday evening and also placed in pre-trial detention for four months after Sunday’s court session.
The three are each accused of terrorism, sedition and conspiracy.
The Attorney General’s Office has also issued arrest warrants for former Presidency Minister, Yerko Núñez; former Defense Minister, Luis Fernando López and former Interior Minister, Arturo Murillo.
Former interim president Jeanine Áñez (pictured center) is escorted to a prison in La Paz, Bolivia, on Monday after a judge ruled on Sunday that she had to remain in pre-trial detention for four months while investigators went over claims that she helped plot a coup that led to the removal of former President Evo Morales in 2019. Áñez along with former Justice Minister Alvaro Coimbra and former Minister of Energy Rodrigo Guzmán – who also have to spend four months in pre-trial detention – are being accused of terrorism, sedition and conspiracy
Evo Morales (center) welcomed a Bolivian court’s decision to investigate former interim president Jeanine Áñez over what he says was an attempt by her and his rivals that ‘looted the economy and attacked life and democracy in Bolivia’ after he was forced to step down as president of the South American nation in 2019
Áñez reportedly used security force allies to push Morales to resign in November 2019 after contested elections and eventually install herself as interim president.
She was transferred to a women’s prison in the capital La Paz on Monday.
‘As we have reported, the [Movement for Socialism decides and the judicial system obeys: they sent me to detention for 4 months to await the trial for a ‘coup’ that never happened,’ Áñez tweeted Saturday evening. ‘From here I call on Bolivia to have faith and hope. One day, together, we will build a better Bolivia.’
Prior to Áñez’s arrest, Morales, who spent his exile in Mexico and Argentina, called on the Bolivian court system to find those who were responsible for the alleged coup.
‘For justice and truth for the 36 fatal victims, the more than 800 injured and more than 1,500 illegally detained in the coup,’ Morales tweeted. ‘That the authors and accomplices of the dictatorship that looted the economy and attacked life and democracy in Bolivia be investigated and punished.’
Justice Minister Ivan Lima said on state television late on Sunday that he would ultimately seek a 30-year jail sentence if Áñez is convicted of fomenting a coup.
Lima added that the state would look to introduce further charges of corruption and what he described as grave human rights abuses, without giving further details of the accusations.
‘We are talking about bloody massacres, and we will press on with our bid to give the Bolivian people justice,’ he said.
Former interim president Jeanine Áñez allegedly security force allies to push Morales to resign in November 2019 after contested elections and eventually install herself as his replacement
Former Justice Minister Alvaro Coimbra (left), former Energy Minister Rodrigo Guzmán (second from left), former interim President Jeanine Áñez (right) and her daughter Carolina Ribera (second from right) attend a virtual hearing in La Paz, Bolivia on Sunday
Tensions were high in Bolivia on Monday amid rumors of further arrests to come.
Protests have been called for in major cities including La Paz, Sucre and Santa Cruz, while police have been ordered to step up security around state buildings, particularly prosecutors’ offices, ahead of potential unrest.
Bolivia’s police chief said on Sunday he had no more arrest orders pending.
The crackdown on former members of Áñez’s administration as well as police and military chiefs represents a sharp change of direction by President Luis Arce, who was Morales’ economy minister.
Arce pledged to ‘rebuild and stabilize’ the Andean nation when he led Morales’ Movement for Socialism party back into office in elections last October.
Áñez, 53, a lawyer and former senator for the center-right Democrat Social Movement, took power after Morales resigned amid widespread violent protests and claims backed by international organizations that he fraudulently won the October 2019 election.
At least 33 people were killed in the violence that followed the election, 30 of them after Áñez took office.
She has rejected the charges against her as ‘political persecution’ and insisted she took part in a ‘constitutional succession’ to replace Morales after he stepped down.
Áñez’s lawyer Ariel Coronado told local television on Monday that he would appeal the decision to remand his client in custody, since there was no evidence to support the state’s case against her.
He said his client had played no part in the civil unrest following the 2019 election that led up to Morales’ resignation, remaining in her home city of Trinidad.
Source: Read Full Article