Conflicts & War

Áñez marks 5 months in Bolivian prison during battle for her health

La Paz, Aug 13 (EFE).- Bolivia’s former interim president Jeanine Áñez marked five months in prison on Friday amid her family’s struggles to have her deteriorating health fully assessed at a private clinic.

A court order authorized Áñez to leave the Miraflores Women’s Penitentiary Center in La Paz for two hours to undergo a cardiology evaluation in a private clinic, however the authorities of the Penitentiary Regime Directorate ordered that she be taken to a public hospital.

Áñez was taken to the Torax Clinic with security so strict that neither her children nor her lawyer could enter to accompany her.

“She has been transferred with a huge security detail. There was the departmental commander of the police, firefighters and the Delta group” and a riot police unit, her lawyer Norka Cuéllar told Efe.

Cuéllar said she was with Áñez in the prison when she suffered an attack due to hypertension and that later “they gave her fairly strong hypertension medication,” which, in her opinion, would have prevented an accurate medical evaluation.

According to Cuéllar, the penitentiary directorate said they did not take the former president to the private clinic because they had not been notified 24 hours in advance.

Áñez underwent an echocardiogram, said Pablo Lara, one of the owners of the German clinic.

The former interim president’s daughter Carolina Ribera said her mother is being detained in an “illegal and unconstitutional” manner and that justice in Bolivia “is not independent” and “judges do not act fairly.”

“We are waiting for the authorities to do the right thing,” Ribera added.

Friday marked five months in detention for Áñez, accused of crimes including terrorism, sedition and conspiracy in an alleged coup case over the events during the 2019 political and social crisis.

Despite the fact that her defense requested on several occasions that she be allowed to defend herself while free, the justice authorities first ordered an extension of her preventive detention from four to six months, and then for another six months.

Ribera said that her mother’s health is visibly affected by her “unjust” detention and regretted that despite the efforts of her relatives, “a comprehensive examination” is not allowed.

Two of Áñez’s former ministers are also being held in preventive detention for the same case and on the same charges, in an open process also against former military and police chiefs as well as some opposition leaders.

The Bolivian government maintains that in 2019 there was a coup against then-president Evo Morales, while the opposition says that his departure from power was the result of electoral fraud in his favor during the failed general election, subsequently annulled. EFE


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