Crime & Justice

Bolivia divided over judicial proceedings against ex-president Áñez

La Paz, Mar 13 (efe-epa) .- The arrest of the former interim president of Bolivia Jeanine Áñez during the early hours of Saturday has divided the country.

On one side are those who see the situation as a political persecution, and on the other are those who say justice is being served after the 2019 crisis that forced the resignation of president Evo Morales, who fled into self-exile.

An operation led by police commander Jhonny Aguilera and Minister of Government Eduardo Del Castillo Del Carpio on Friday led to the capture of Áñez in Trinidad. She was immediately transferred to La Paz, some 500 kilometers away, in an Air Force plane.

Sources close to the operation said that Áñez was found in her house hidden in a storage room.

On Saturday morning, she was taken to the Prosecutor’s Office for a statement in which she used her right to silence over not being treated as a former president of the country and therefore is subject to a criminal liability trial.

Áñez said Saturday that her arrest is “political intimidation” and suspected that the ruling Movement for Socialism (MAS) party of President Luis Arce and Morales are behind the move.

Minister of Justice and Institutional Transparency Iván Lima affirmed that this is “a trial against a former senator, therefore it did not require a constitutional privilege trial.”

Áñez and former interim ministers Rodrigo Guzmán and Álvaro Coímbra were arrested in the framework of the case and are accused of sedition and terrorism during the crisis of 2019.

Áñez and her former ministers remain detained at the facilities of the Special Force to Fight Crime, where relatives and lawyers await notification for the injunction hearing.

Carolina Rivera, daughter of Áñez, told Efe that the action against her mother is “an abuse, an injustice, what the MAS government does, which is so authoritarian.”

“I repeat again, there was not a coup, what there was was an electoral fraud,” she said.”What she did was assume a responsibility that no one wanted to assume.”

Rivera confirmed that Áñez accepted her right to silence in her statement and that she is being denied her right to be treated as a former head of state.

She also denounced that she was also detained and later released, but some of her cousins continue to be held without explanation.

Dalia Lima, wife of Guzmán, told Efe that “everything was illegal” because when the arrest took place he “had not been notified” and pointed out that the defense of the detained politicians is gathering documents to “debunk” the crimes of which they are accused.

On the contrary, the president of the Association of Victims of the South Zone, Frida Conde, told Efe that she expects Áñez to “pay for everything she has done.”

Meanwhile, Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for António Guterres said the United Nations’ “Secretary-General recalls the importance of upholding due process guarantees and full transparency in all legal proceedings” in relation to the Bolivian opposition arrests.

Bolivia has gone through an extremely turbulent period since the October 2019 elections, the results of which were called into question by the opposition and the Organization of American States.

Áñez, who was second vice president of the Senate, assumed the presidency of the country on an interim basis after the forced resignation and self-exile of Morales.

She withdrew from running for the presidency after she wasn’t able to gather enough support for October’s election, won by the MAS. EFE-EPA


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