Prosecutors to seek 15 years in prison for former Bolivian President Jeanine Anez

Bolivian prosecutors said on Monday they would seek a 15-year prison sentence for ex-president Jeanine Anez, who is on trial for an alleged plot described by many as fictitious to oust her rival and predecessor Evo Morales.

Anez, 54, has been in pretrial detention since March 2021, speaking out against what she calls political persecution.

She was arrested just months after handing over the presidential reins she held on an interim basis to elected leader Luis Arce, a Morales protege.

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Anez faces charges in two trials, including a criminal case she attended via video link from her jail cell on Monday, for “dereliction of duty” and making unconstitutional resolutions when she was a senator, before to become president.

In the case, Attorney General Juan Lanchipa said Monday at a press conference that he would seek a 15-year prison sentence.

In another case pending before lawmakers, Anez faces charges of sedition and other charges related to his short presidential term.

Anez, from the right, became interim president of Bolivia in November 2019 after Morales, who claimed to have won a fourth consecutive term as president, fled the country in the face of mass protests against alleged electoral fraud.

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The Organization of American States (OAS) said at the time that it had found clear evidence of voting irregularities in favor of Morales, in power for 14 years.

Many of those who would have succeeded Morales, all members of his MAS party, also resigned and fled. This member of the left opposition Anez, then vice-president of the senate, was the most senior official of the left.

The Constitutional Court recognized Anez’s tenure as interim president, but MAS members contested her legitimacy.

Elections were held a year later and were won by Arce. With the presidency and congress firmly under MAS control, Morales returned to Bolivia in November 2020.

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Anez was arrested in March the following year, accused of improperly assuming the presidency.

Early in his short presidency, Anez called in the police and military to restore order. The post-election conflict has claimed around 35 lives, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

For this, Anez also faces charges of genocide.


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