Former Peruvian president sentenced to 18 months in pretrial detention

A Peruvian judge ordered 18 months of preventive detention for former President Pedro Castillo, detained since December 7 after trying to dissolve Congress and establish an emergency government.

Judge Juan Carlos Checkley established in his opinion that there are elements to support the accusation of the crimes of rebellion and conspiracy against Castillo and some of his collaborators.

Castillo will remain in custody at the Barbadillo prison facilities in the Ate district, east of Lima.

The former president has denied the accusations against him, saying he is being “unfairly and arbitrarily detained” at a police facility near the capital, Lima.

Earlier this week, he called on his supporters to go to prison to demand his release and urged the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to intercede on his behalf.

“Enough already! The outrage, humiliation and mistreatment continue. Today they restrict my freedom again with 18 months of preventive detention“Castillo wrote in a message posted on Twitter.

“I hold judges and prosecutors responsible for what happens in the country.”

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The magistrate pointed out in his resolution that there are elements of conviction of an alleged conspiracy and that Castillo, together with former Prime Minister Betssy Chavez, former Interior Minister Willy Huerta and Aníbal Torres had agreed on the decision to dissolve Congress and intervene in the justice system.

The judge also ruled that there are elements of conviction that Castillo intended to seek asylum in Mexico.

The lawyers did not participate in the virtual hearing on Thursday, arguing that the vacancy of their client was illegal, as was the process that is being carried out against him.

They indicated that their defendant did not commit the crime of rebellion because he did not take up arms. And they assured that there is no danger of flight.

At least 15 people have been killed in the protests. On Thursday there were seven dead and 52 injured in the southern Andes of Peru, according to Ayacucho authorities.

The government of new Peruvian President Dina Boluarte declared a state of emergency on Wednesday in an effort to deal with the protests.

ProCastillo protesters now call their demonstrations a national insurgency.

“Peru, we have declared ourselves in a state of insurgency, a national insurgency because we do not owe obedience to a usurping government,” a protester in Lima said Thursday.

Some 1,000 protesters have camped near a detention center in Lima demanding the release of the former president.

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