Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Peru: Judge orders Castillo to 18 months of pre-trial detention

LIMA ( Associated Press) – Peru’s ousted President Pedro Castillo must remain in prison for 18 months while he is under investigation for crimes of insurrection, conspiracy, abuse of authority and serious disturbance of the public peace, a judge ordered Thursday. Gave agreed to the request of the prosecution.

While Supreme Justice Juan Carlos Checkle read his resolution in a virtual hearing, hundreds of protesters marched in the streets around the Congress and the Superior Court of Lima, guarded by a strong police contingent.

Meanwhile, parliament is discussing a project to push for general elections to end the violent protests that have erupted in recent days following Castillo’s dismissal and arrest.

The health ministry confirmed on Thursday that 14 people had died during the protests, while another 40 had been hospitalised. Deaths have been recorded in the regions of Apurimac, Arequipa and Ayacucho in the south of Peru and La Libertad in the north.

The government of Dina Boluarte, who replaced Castillo, declared a 30-day national emergency on Wednesday, suspending public rights and liberties in an effort to contain the conflicts, which have caused blockades on highways and closures of highways to trade. and affected tourism. Airports and train services.

The measure suspended the fundamental rights of citizens and mobilized the armed forces to supplement the police work in quelling demonstrations across the country.

Authorities ordered a curfew on Thursday afternoon in 15 provinces located in the regions of Arequipa, La Libertad, Ica, Apurimac, Cusco, Puno, Huancavelica and Ayacucho. The measurement starts at 6:00 PM, 7:00 PM or 8:00 PM depending on the location, and lasts till 04:00 AM.

Castillo refused to be notified and did not attend the hearing. His defense at the hearing appointment was in the hands of a public defender, as the former president’s accredited lawyer, Ronald Atencio, explained to The Associated Press that his absence is due to the fact that he believes “there is no minimum guarantee”. is” and the process is followed by deletion which violates the law.

Public Defender Italo Díaz insisted that Castillo did not engage in acts of rebellion because he did not bear arms and assured that there was no risk of obstruction of the investigation by the former president as he was no longer in charge of the government. On the issue of asylum, he indicated that what was said by the Mexican Foreign Ministry did not mean that Castillo had submitted an application.

Diaz announced that he would appeal against the decision to be overturned.

Supreme Deputy Prosecutor Alcides Chinchay estimated at the hearing that Castillo could face between 10 and 20 years in prison and is a flight risk because Mexico has expressed a willingness to give him asylum. He said the damage to the state should include the impact of the former president’s message to dissolve the Congress as well as the violent protests resulting from his dismissal.

Five of those killed in last week’s protests are from the Andean city of Andahuaylas, where protesters are demanding new elections. On Thursday the community woke up to the presence of armed police officers guarding the police headquarters.

Despite the state of emergency, military presence on the streets was not seen unlike the previous day, when armed soldiers in white vans patrolled some of the city’s streets.

Grocery store vendors were clearing streets littered with stones and ash from burnt tyres, but planned to close their shops before the protest, organized by farmers from nearby rural villages, began.

Castillo was arrested on Wednesday of last week after announcing the dissolution of Congress and the intervention of various state institutions. Shortly afterwards Congress dismissed him and he was arrested while traveling in a procession through Lima. According to the prosecutor’s office, he was on his way to the Mexican embassy to request asylum.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has said that Castillo called him to announce that he would be requesting asylum and ordered that he be allowed to enter the embassy.

After the governments of Argentina, Mexico, Colombia and Bolivia expressed their support for Castillo, whom they still consider Peru’s president, the Andean nation’s government on Thursday summoned its ambassadors to these countries for consultations.

“The president represents the state inside and outside the nation, and directs foreign policy,” declared Ana Cecilia Gervasi, Peru’s minister of foreign affairs. The position of the four neighboring countries is “interference in the internal affairs of Peru by the highest authorities of the aforementioned countries”.

In addition to Castillo, preventive detention for 18 months was also requested for former prime minister Aníbal Torres, who was an advisor to the Castillo government and whose whereabouts remain unknown to this day. However, Torres reappeared in a virtual relationship during the trial and limited himself to agreeing with his defense.

The judge ordered Torres to face the prosecutor’s investigation with restrictive measures, such as reporting to court periodically.

The prosecutor’s office agreed with the decision Castillo made, but said it would appeal against Torres’ provisions.


Associated Press writers Franklin Briseno in Andahuallas, Peru, Regina Garcia Cano in Lima and Gonzalo Solano in Quito, Ecuador contributed to this report.

Nation World News Desk
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