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Ex-Bolivian president Jeanine Anez sentenced to 10 years in prison

Press TV – June 11, 2022

Former Bolivian interim president Jeanine Anez has been sentenced to a 10-year prison term more than a year after being arrested on charges of leading a US-backed plot in 2019 to oust re-elected socialist president Evo Morales.

Anez will serve 10 years in a women’s prison in La Paz, the administrative capital’s First Sentencing Court announced on Friday in a ruling that came three months after her trial began.

Convicted of crimes “contrary to the constitution and a dereliction of duties,” the former right-wing television presenter was sentenced to “a punishment of 10 years” over charges stemming from when she was a senator, before becoming president.

Government prosecutors, however, had asked for a 15-year jail term for Anez, who has been held in pre-trial detention since March 2021 while dismissing her trial as “political persecution.”

Also sentenced to 10 years were the former chief of Bolivia’s armed forces, William Kaliman, and the country’s ex-police chief Yuri Calderon — both of whom have reportedly fled the country and remain on the run.

This is while Anez still faces a separate, pending court case for sedition and other charges related to her short presidential tenure.

At the start of her presidency, the US-sponsored rightist politician had called in the police and military to restore order. The post-election unrest left 22 people dead, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

For that, Anez also further faces genocide charges, which carry prison sentences of between 10 and 20 years.

The IACHR described the 22 deaths that occurred at the beginning of Anez’s presidential stint as “massacres,” and found they indicated “serious violations of human rights.”

Unlike the other accusations against Anez, the case will be dealt with by congress, which will decide whether or not to hold a trial.

The ex-president had already declared she would appeal if convicted, claiming, “We will not stop there. We will go before the international justice system.”

Anez became Bolivia’s interim president in November 2019 after Morales, who had won a fourth consecutive term as president, fled the country in the face of what was widely viewed as a US-sponsored unrest purportedly against alleged electoral fraud.

The US-led and Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS) claimed at the time that it had found “clear evidence” of voting irregularities in favor of Morales, a popular, anti-US president who was re-elected into office for 14 years.

Many potential successors to Morales — all members of his MAS party – were also forced to resign or flee, leaving right-wing opposition member Anez, then vice-president of the Senate, next in line.

Virtually unknown, the lawyer and former TV personality proclaimed herself interim president of the Andean nation on November 12, 2019, two days after Morales’ forced resignation.

The Constitutional Court recognized Anez’s mandate as interim, caretaker president, but MAS members disputed her legitimacy.

Elections were held a year later, and won by Luis Arce – a close ally of Morales.

With the presidency and congress both firmly in MAS control, Morales returned to Bolivia in November 2020.

After handing over the presidential reins to Arce, Anez was detained in March 2021, charged with illegitimate assumption of power.

“I denounce before Bolivia and the world that in an act of abuse and political persecution, the MAS government has ordered my arrest,” she proclaimed in a Twitter post at the time.

June 11, 2022 - Posted by | Civil Liberties | , ,

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