LA PAZ (AFP) – Former Bolivian interim president Jeanine Anez, imprisoned since March 2021 for her alleged role in a coup d’etat, will remain in detention for at least three more months, a court ruled on Monday.
Hailed as a “political prisoner” by her supporters, Anez has been on a hunger strike since February 9, the eve of her trial over the ouster of former leftist president Evo Morales.
“The request for an extension of (provisional) detention can be granted for a period of three months,” Judge Armando Zeballos told an online hearing, noting it was a “complex” case with an ongoing investigation.
Her defence has appealed the decision.
“They continue to punish me at the whim of my executioners. The terrorism case does not exist. They have not proven anything since they kidnapped me. I am innocent,” the conservative ex-president, in power between 2019 and 2020, tweeted after the ruling.
Accusations of terrorism still under investigation stem from complaints made by the families of victims of a police crackdown against protesters.
Anez, 54, is accused of unconstitutionally assuming the presidency on November 12, 2019 following the resignation of Morales, who fled into exile following 14 years in power.
A month earlier, Morales had faced a wave of protests after contesting for a fourth term, despite the constitution limiting the president to two successive terms. He fled into exile after being abandoned by the army and police.
After a year as acting president, Anez recognised the victory of Luis Arce, a candidate from Morales’ Movement for Socialism (MOS) party, in the October 2020 presidential election and handed him power.
Bolivia’s government, public prosecutor and MOS-dominated congress are the plaintiffs in the case against her.
Earlier this month, a group of 21 former Latin American presidents asked the United Nations to visit Anez and investigate potential “abuses of power” in her treatment.
Her trial could last at least three years.