Former Bolivian interim President Jeanine Áñez was sentenced to 10 years in jail on Friday for crimes related to her assumption of office in 2019 amid violent protests that led to Evo Morales’ resignation and exile.
The court convicted her of dereliction of office and violating the constitution when she declared herself president in a move that Morales and his party refer to as a coup.
Jeanine Áñez supporters deny that it was a coup, claiming that Morales’ alleged misuse of authority sparked a lawful movement on the streets. They allege that the removal of Bolivia’s first Indigenous president and his vice president created a power vacuum that enabled ez to seize the interim presidency as the second Senate president. The defence stated that an appeal will be filed.
“I did not lift a finger to become president, but I did what I had to do to calm down a country that Morales ran from,” ez said from prison.
Morales resigned in the wake of countrywide protests over alleged vote-rigging in an election he claimed to have won on October 20 for a fourth term in office. Morales has denied any fraud occurred. The protests resulted in 37 fatalities and compelled Morales to seek sanctuary in Mexico.
His party, MAS, returned to power in the 2020 elections, and Morales has since returned to Bolivia.
The trial establishes a “historic precedent” against impunity, according to MAS representative Juan José Jáuregui.
The court also imposed 10-year prison terms on former military commander Williams Kaliman and former police chief Vladimir Calderon. Four additional former military leaders were sentenced to lesser terms.
Outside the prison where she was being detained, approximately fifty people displayed protest posters.