| 15 April 2024, Monday |

Peru’s former prime minister detained on conspiracy charges

In the most recent case against a politician in Peru, police detained an ex-prime minister on Tuesday for allegedly conspiring against the government and taking part in an attempted “coup” by deposed former President Pedro Castillo.

More than six months after the Marxist Castillo was apprehended and imprisoned on rebellion charges, local television reported that former prime minister Betssy Chavez was detained at her residence in the southern city of Tacna as a result of a court order.

Chavez, a former legislator, and other former ministers of Castillo’s 17-month-old government are also being investigated as co-conspirators for the crime of fomenting rebellion.

The charges stem from Castillo’s announcement last December that he would dissolve Congress and rule by decree just ahead of an effort by lawmakers to vote him out of office. Peru’s opposition-led Congress rapidly ousted Castillo and police subsequently arrested him.

Castillo’s removal sparked months of angry and sometimes violent protests that left over 60 people dead, largely from indigenous groups. The current government led by President Dina Boluarte, Castillo’s former vice president, has denied it committed abuses during the protests while pledging cooperation with the investigations.

A criminal chamber of Peru’s Supreme Court issued the arrest warrant for Chavez, the court said on Twitter, while prosecutors filed a request for 18 months of preventative imprisonment.

A lawyer and fierce defender of Castillo, Chavez has repeatedly denied participating in or having knowledge of the alleged coup attempt, as have other former ministers who are also under investigation.

  • Reuters