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Bolivian ex-president Anez convicted of orchestrating coup, gets 10-yr sentence -Breaking


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: Jeanine Anez (Bolivia’s former interim president) is seen wearing a face mask while being held in a FELCC prison in La Paz. Bolivia, 13 March 2021. REUTERS/David Mercado/File Photo

Brendan O’Boyle and Daniel Ramos

LA PAZ (Reuters – A Bolivian court found Jeanine Anez, former President of Bolivia, guilty Friday of orchestrating a coup which brought her to power in a political crisis.

Her sentence was for ten years. She was also sentenced to 10 years in prison for ex-military commander and ex–police chief.

Anez, age 54, was found guilty of violating the Constitution and dereliction of duty.

Anez was a former right-wing senator who, according to the prosecution, had violated norms which guarantee constitutional and democratic order following Bolivia’s 2019 presidential election.

Anez’s defense claimed it would appeal internationally to get justice. Many sectors of opposition had planned marches against the decision.

Bolivia has split on whether there was a coup after the resignation of Evo Morales in 2019. Anez assumed office in 2019 amid a leadership vacuum. Morales left Bolivia after protests over the disputed elections in which Morales claimed to have won a controversial fourth term.

Anez insists that she is innocent.

It has also highlighted the fault lines of a divided country and raised questions about Bolivia’s judicial system.

“We are deeply concerned by the manner in which this case is being pursued. We call upon superior courts to investigate how these proceedings were handled,” Cesar Munoz (senior researcher on the Americas at Human Rights Watch) said before the verdict.

Anez wasn’t allowed to go personally, so she participated in the hearing from prison. Anez was detained after her initial arrest for terrorism, conspiracy and sedition in March 2021.

Morales Movement to Socialism (MAS party) members and supporters say Anez was a pivotal role in what they claim was a coup against Morales. Morales is Bolivia’s indigenous first president who had oversaw a significant reduction in poverty during his term as president between 2005 and 2019.

Anez, who was president of the MAS in 2002, was accused by political score-settling after her administration tried to prosecute former MAS officials.

Anez’s backers claim her trial is illegal and was political. Anez claimed she was the victim of circumstance in her trial. She said that her rise to the top helped settle tensions and set the stage for October 2020 elections.

While I wasn’t able to lift a finger in order to run for president, I did my best to fulfill the obligations. In her last statement, Anez stated that she assumed the presidency as a matter of obligation according to the constitution.