Former President Áñez rejects a new ordinary trial in Bolivia

LA PAZ, Bolivia (HPD) — The imprisoned former president of Bolivia, Jeanine Áñez, lashed out Friday against a judge who denied her a trial of responsibilities for the appointment of an official during her short government in 2020 and now the former president will have to face another ordinary trial.

“These judges are repeat offenders in issuing resolutions against the Constitution… they carry out orders from (former president) Evo Morales… I was President, deny it or it hurts them, but I did not run away, prevaricators,” Áñez wrote on his Twitter account from a prison in La Paz, where he is serving a ten-year sentence related to the 2019 crisis that precipitated Morales’ resignation.

A trial of responsibilities only applies to former presidents and the defendants have certain privileges. It is not the case of an ordinary trial in which the accused can be arrested.

In his ruling known the day before, Judge Herbert Torrejón supported the request of the Prosecutor’s Office, which argued that Áñez’s one-year presidency was not “constitutional” so he does not have the right to a trial of responsibilities as demanded by her and the political opposition. .

In June, Áñez was sentenced in the first ordinary trial for breach of duties and resolutions contrary to the constitution for that congressional session of November 2019 in which, as vice president of the Senate, she proclaimed herself president of the country after the resignation of Morales.

Morales, his then vice president and other senior officials resigned after a social outbreak that left 37 dead in almost a month of street protests after elections that observers from the Organization of American States (OAS) called fraudulent.

Morales was seeking a fourth consecutive term in those failed elections. Now the former president is head of the ruling Movement for Socialism (MAS), a party with which he won the presidential elections in 2020 his political heir Luis Arce.

This time the accusation is related to the allegedly irregular appointment that Áñez made in the state Bolivian Food Company. The former president has been in jail for 19 months and faces other accusations, including the deaths of 19 Morales supporters during the protests.

Various reports from international organizations have questioned the lack of independence of the Bolivian justice system, including the United Nations Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Diego García Sayán, who said that due process was not respected and that Áñez should have been tried in a trial of responsibilities.

The Legislative Assembly must approve a judgment of responsibilities by two-thirds vote.

Morales was never prosecuted for the alleged electoral fraud. The Prosecutor’s Office rejected the OAS reports and said there was no evidence to open a court case.

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