Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Peru: Judge to pronounce verdict on Castillo’s prison later in the afternoon

LIMA ( Associated Press) — A decision on whether Peru’s ousted President Pedro Castillo will remain in prison or be released has once again been put on hold. The judge ruling on the preliminary detention will give his verdict at 5 p.m. on Thursday, following a morning hearing in which the prosecutor’s office asked to extend the preventive detention for 18 months while the former president is investigated for alleged crimes of subversion. Were staying Conspiracy, abuse of authority and serious disturbance of public peace.

In a hearing, which was called for Wednesday and adjourned to Thursday, the prosecutor’s office and Castillo’s defense presented their arguments before Supreme Judge Juan Carlos Checkley on whether the president has reason to remain in preventive detention.

Castillo refused to be notified and did not attend the hearing. In the appointment before the judge his defense was assumed by a public defender. The former governor’s accredited lawyer, Ronald Atencio, explained to The Associated Press that he is not attending the hearing because he believes “there is no minimum guarantee” and that proceedings against Castillo are being pursued post-dismissal. that violates the law.

Supreme Deputy Prosecutor Alcides Chinchay estimated during the hearing that Castillo’s sentence would be 10 to 20 years in prison and that he is a flight risk because Mexico has expressed willingness to give him asylum. He said the loss to the state should include the effects of the former president’s message to dissolve the Congress as well as the violent protests that followed his dismissal. He referred to these as “worrying consequences of the coup attempt”.

Italo Díaz, the public defender defending Castillo, argued that there was no rebellion because Castillo had not taken up arms and that there was no danger that the defendant would obstruct the investigation by the prosecutor’s office because he was no longer president. With regard to asylum, he clarified that the mention of the Mexican Foreign Minister does not mean that Castillo has requested it.

The decision on Castillo’s status coincides with Wednesday’s declaration of a national state of emergency by Dina Boluarte’s government. Given the rise in social protests triggered by Peru’s political crisis, the fundamental rights of citizens were suspended for 30 days and the armed forces were mobilized to supplement the police work in suppressing demonstrations across the country. .

Eight people were killed and hundreds were injured in a week of protests. Five of the dead are from the Andean town of Andahuales where the protests aim to demand new elections. That population awoke on Thursday with policemen armed with rifles guarding the police headquarters.

Despite the state of emergency, there was no presence of army soldiers on the streets, but the day before white vans with armed soldiers patrolled some streets of Andahuellas. Roads out of the city have been blocked for fear of subsequent protests and the land bus and taxi terminals are empty.

Some traders running grocery stores were clearing the roads strewn with stones and ash with burnt tyres, but they planned to close their shops early in the morning amid strong protests from farmers in nearby rural villages.

Castillo was arrested on Wednesday of last week after delivering a televised message as President of the Republic, in which he announced the dissolution of Congress and the intervention of various state institutions. On the same day he was dismissed from his post by the Congress and taken into custody. The next day, a judge ordered that he be held for 7 days as a preliminary detention measure, which was completed on Wednesday of this week.

When the term expired, the prosecutor’s office made a new request on Tuesday night to extend the preventive detention to 18 months. While the judge does not rule on this requirement, Castillo must remain incarcerated. If the judge accepts the checkly request, the ex-ruler’s prison term is extended.

Supreme Deputy Prosecutor Alcides Chinchay insisted that on the day of his arrest, Castillo had asked for custody of the country’s prosecutor, Patricia Benavides, who is investigating him for alleged crimes of corruption. He explained that this request made by Castillo – which was recited at a rally through Lima after ordering the dissolution of Congress – did not reach other officials, as declared by Willy Huerta, the former interior minister. is a witness.

Castillo was later arrested while he was on his way to the Mexican embassy to seek asylum, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that Castillo called him to ask for asylum and ordered that he be allowed to enter the embassy in Lima.

Peru’s response to the support shown by Argentina, Mexico, Colombia and Bolivia for Castillo, whom they continue to recognize as Peru’s president, was on Thursday to summon their ambassadors to these countries for consultations.

“The President represents the state inside and outside the nation, and directs foreign policy”, begins the declaration of Ana Cecilia Gervasi, Peru’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. Government official Dina Boluarte said that the situation in the four neighboring countries is “interference in the internal affairs of Peru by the highest authorities of the above-mentioned countries”.

18 months of preventive detention is also requested for former Peruvian Prime Minister Anibal Torres, who was an advisor to the Castillo government and whose whereabouts are unknown. However, he reappeared in a virtual affair at the hearing and confined himself to agreeing to his defence.

The judge has until Friday of this week to decide whether to order preventive detention for Castillo, but announced he will rule Thursday afternoon.

Nation World News Desk
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