Crime & Justice

Bolivia’s ex-President Añez transferred to women’s prison

La Paz, Mar 15 (efe-epa).- Bolivia’s former interim president, Jeanine Añez, on Monday was transferred to the Women’s Orientation Center in the Obrajes district of La Paz, where she will be held in preventive detention during the ongoing investigation into the so-called “coup d’etat” case.

Añez was transferred from the custody of the Special Crime Fighting Force facility, where she had been detained since Saturday morning, to the Obrajes jail in a van with a heavy contingent of police guards.

Upon arriving at the women’s jail, the former president greeted media representatives and quickly entered the facility surrounded by police.

A small group of supporters awaited Añez’s arrival at the prison and shouted “Nobody’s getting tired, nobody’s giving up,” a slogan characteristic of the massive demonstrations in 2019 in which protesters denounced irregularities they said favored former President Evo Morales’ MAS party in that year’s general election.

As per normal Covid-19 protocols, Añez will be held in isolation for the next two weeks and will receive no “special privileges” while detained, although the jail’s common sleeping areas have “all the basic services” and she will “have the right to communicate” with her attorneys and relatives via telephone.

A Bolivian judge on Sunday after a hearing lasting more than nine hours ruled that Añez would be held in preventive detention for four months in a La Paz prison, the same ruling handed down to two former Cabinet ministers, Alvaro Coimbra and Rodrigo Guzman, who held the Justice and Energy portfolios, respectively, during her 2019-2020 administration and who will be held at the San Pedro Prison in the capital.

The three former officials have been accused of “sedition, terrorism and conspiracy” in the 2019 crisis after the failed national elections that led to the resignation of then-President Morales.

Añez was apprehended in the Amazon province of Beni on Saturday morning, after the two ex-ministers had been arrested on Friday in the same region. Later, they were all transferred to La Paz and elected to remain silent during the opportunity presented to them to make statements before a judge.

Justice Minister Ivan Lima said that Añez is being put on trial as an ex-senator and not as an ex-president.

The Bolivian Justice Ministry on Monday presented to the Prosecutor’s Office four court cases, known as “trials of responsibilities,” against Añez and her ex-ministers.

When she was arrested and brought before a judge on the weekend, Añez had demanded to be tried as an ex-president, given that she had governed Bolivia in 2019-2020 after Morales resigned, reiterating that she had no intention of leaving the country.

Coimbra on Twitter had complained that the officials’ families were being “harassed and threatened,” asserting that “anything that happens to them” will be the responsibility of former President Morales and current President Luis Arce.

After learning of the court’s decision, Añez said that the governing “MAS (party of Morales) decides and the judicial system obeys,” adding that she would be arrested “to await trial for a ‘coup that never happened.'”

Meanwhile, on the weekend, the opposition We Believe Alliance, addressing the Inter-american Commission on Human Rights, requested that precautionary measures be taken regarding the trio and for all persons who are being judicially processed “for the social mobilizations that called for the resignation of former President Evo Morales in 2019.”

The archbishop of the city of Santa Cruz, Msgr. Sergio Gualberti, said that the authorities are “intending to brand as pro-coup the public and their representatives who defended the citizenry’s vote and democracy, while presenting themselves as victims of … fraud. Democracy demands respect for human rights.”


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