Jeanine Áñez: Former Bolivian president sentenced to 10 years in prison – Latin America – International

The former interim president of Bolivia Jeanine Añez was sentenced this Friday to 10 years in prisonaccused of leading a 2019 coup against his predecessor, leftist Evo Morales.

(In context: Bolivia: Jeanine Áñez pleads not guilty in coup trial)

The first sentencing court in La Paz announced the 10-year ‘conviction sentence’, to be served in a La Paz women’s prison, three months into the trial and 15 months after the former’s preventive incarceration. right-wing president.

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The president of the court, Germán Ramos, underlined on reading the judgment “the full conviction” of the magistrates on the “participation and criminal responsibility” of Áñez and the other defendants, who must also pay an as yet unspecified amount for the alleged damages to the state.

In her closing argument, Añez pleaded not guilty, pointing out that the court had “ruled out” evidence ruling out a 2019 overthrow of Morales. “I never sought power,” the 54-year-old former president said, which defines itself. as a “political prisoner”. .

I did what I had to do, I assumed the presidency by commitment… I would do it again if I had the chance”Áñez assured the court judges, who visited her at the La Paz prison where she has been held since March 2021.

“Everyone knows I’m innocent,” insisted the former president, who ruled between 2019 and 2020, as dozens of protesters outside the prison demanded his sentence.

Áñez was sentenced for breach of duty and resolutions contrary to the Constitution. Former armed forces commander William Kalimán and former police chief Yuri Calderón, both fugitives, were also sentenced to 10 years.

Bolivia’s former interim president Jeannine Anez (C) is escorted by Special Force Against Crime (FELCC) police after being detained in La Paz (file photo).

Judgment controversy

Towards Áñez he was accused of unconstitutionally assuming the presidency in November 2019 after Morales resigned (2006-2019) amid massive protests against alleged electoral fraud exposed by the Organization of American States (OAS). After several interruptions, the trial resumed on Monday and the prosecution requested a 15-year prison sentence against him.

“Today history is made. Mrs. Jeanine Añez was sentenced to 10 years… for self-proclamation and violation of the rules of constitutional succession,” tweeted Interior Minister Eduardo del Castillo.

From the opposition, Senator Andrea Barrientos denounced on Twitter “an illegal trial with a flagrant violation of human rights [derechos humanos]and expressed his “solidarity with the former president and his family”.

“repudiate the intention of condemning her arbitrarily”.

Coming from the opposition, which cited demonstrations yesterday and earlier this week, former center president Carlos Mesa (2003-2005) said the ruling Movement to Socialism (MAS) had committed a ” political crime” by “using the servile justice system”.

A group of 23 former presidents of Ibero-American countries called on the UN and the European Union (EU) “to reject the intention to condemn her arbitrarily”.

In a statement issued by the Democratic Initiative of Spain and the Americas (IDEA), the former heads of state and government this week came to the defense of Áñez and the legitimacy of the transitional presidency he held from November 2019 until the same month of 2020.

“Preserving the constitutional thread and the rules of succession in the midst of any political crisis, as experience in Latin America shows, is the antidote to militaristic adventures and their coups,” the statement said.

It should be mentioned that at the time, the transitional constitutional government of Áñez was also recognized by the international community, including the UN, OAS, EU, USA, Canada, Japan, Turkey, Russia, China and countries in the region. .

For its part, Human Rights Watch (HRW) expressed concern on Friday about the way in which the former interim president was prosecuted. “We are concerned about the manner in which the criminal proceedings against former President Jeanine Áñez have been carried out,” HRW lead investigator César Muñoz wrote on Twitter.

AFP and EFE

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