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Bolivian former president gets prison sentence

Former president of Bolivia, Jeanine Anez has been sentenced to to 10 years in prison, after more than a year of her arrest for an alleged plot dismissed as fictional by many to oust her rival and predecessor Evo Morales.

All through her stay in pre-trial detention since March 2021, Anez consistently denounced what she called political persecution.

The erstwhile interim leader will serve 10 years in a women’s prison in La Paz, First Sentencing Court announced in a decision coming three months after the commencement of her trial.

Convicted of crimes “contrary to the constitution and a dereliction of duties,” Anez was sentenced to “a punishment of 10 years”, over accusations stemming from when she was a senator, before becoming president.

Prosecutors had asked for a 15-year jail sentence.

The former leader had already announced she would appeal if convicted, saying, “we will not stop there, we will go before the international justice system.”

Also sentenced to 10 years were the former head of the armed forces, William Kaliman, and the former head of the police, Yuri Calderon, both of whom are on the run.

Anez still faces a separate, pending court case for sedition and other charges related to her short presidential stint.

At the start of her presidency, Anez had called in the police and military to restore order. The post-election conflict caused 22 deaths, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

For that, Anez also faces genocide charges, which carry prison sentences of between 10 and 20 years.

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

Many potential successors to Morales, all members of his MAS party also resigned and fled, leaving opposition member Anez, then vice-president of the Senate, next in line.

Writing by Fany Olumoye; Editing by Muzha Kucha