Crime & Justice

Añez defense team to appeal sentence, resort to international courts

La Paz, Jun 13 (EFE).- The defense attorneys for former interim Bolivian President Jeanine Añez announced Monday that they will appeal the 10-year sentence handed down against her by a court and, after exhausting domestic judicial venues, they will also turn to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Alain de Canedo, one of Añez’s lawyers, said at a press conference that the Bolivian judiciary had violated the rights of the former interim president during her entire trial in the so-called “Coup d’etat II” case, in which last Friday the court sentenced her to 10 years in prison.

Canedo asserted that the main violation was how, as a former president, Añez should not have been tried in the ordinary way but rather in accord with special procedures.

He also questioned why she was not allowed to be present at her own trial, where he said “90 percent of the evidence (by the defense) was excluded” and where the sessions were conducted while the ex-leader was “doped up” due to her delicate state of health.

The attorney called the trial a big “shame,” adding that the defense team will turn to the “international courts” for satisfaction.

He also mentioned the recent statements by former President Evo Morales regarding the sentence and said that his remarks verified that a “political trial” had been conducted as per a “political decision.”

The defense team will await the full announcement of the sentence, due to occur on Wednesday, to present a “limited appeal” seeking their client’s acquittal.

Morales said Sunday on Kawsachun Coca radio that in a meeting with current Bolivian President Luis Arce and other top government and legislative officials, they agreed that Añez should be brought to trial in the “ordinary” way and not according to special procedures.

The Arce government and Morales himself said Monday that his remarks had been misconstrued and that he was actually referring to Añez’s pending trials and not to the one that just took place.

Carolina Ribera, Añez daughter, said that they will undertake “the necessary actions” to bring the case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, “where there are no political parties, no political interference and where there are no friends” who can influence the verdict.

“We’re going to appeal and later, when all avenues are exhausted, we’re going to go the international route,” Ribera said.

She added that Monday is her mother’s birthday, the second one she will spend in prison, and she said that she is proud of her.

Attorney General Juan Lanchipa said that the Public Ministry will appeal Añez’s sentence since, in his judgment, “her culpability was established” for the crimes for which she was charged, according to a Public Ministry bulletin.

The AG’s office will wait until the complete sentence is handed down to present an appeal.

“The Public Ministry fulfilled its duty to investigate … and it went forward with the trial, verified nd proved the accusation presented to achieve a criminal punishment for Jeanine Añez as guilty and responsible for the rupture of the legal and constitutional order,” said Lanchipa.

Initially, the AG’s office had asked for 15 years behind bars for the former president for the crimes of issuing resolutions contrary to the Constitution and the laws and for failing to properly carry out her duties.

Añez has been held in preventive custody in La Paz for more than a year and last Friday she was convicted in association with the events between Nov. 10, 2019 – when Morales resigned the presidency – and Nov. 12, when the then-senator assumed the interim presidency.

The Arce government and the governing Movement to Socialism (MAS) party have insisted that Morales’s resignation resulted from a coup d’etat against him, while his detractors claim that it was the consequence of the accusations of election fraud favoring him in the failed 2019 general election.

In addition to this case, Añez has other legal proceedings against her known as “Coup d’etat I” where she is accused of the crimes of sedition, terrorism and conspiracy.


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