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LATIN AMERICA | 20-03-2021 09:18

Bolivia's Áñez authorised for transfer from prison to hospital

Bolivia's former interim president Jeanine Áñez will be allowed to transfer from prison to a hospital following poor health, a panel of judges said Friday, less than a week after her arrest on charges linked to the ousting of her predecessor Evo Morales.

Bolivia's former interim president Jeanine Áñez will be allowed to transfer from prison to a hospital following poor health, a panel of judges said Friday, less than a week after her arrest on charges linked to the ousting of her predecessor Evo Morales.

Three judges from a court in La Paz have accepted her release "for medical examinations by cardiology specialists and tests in order to protect her life and health," they said.

Áñezs transfer will be under police "escort" the judges added, and comes after the conservative politician's lawyers filed a request for release earlier in the day.

Authorities arrested and detained Áñez, 53, last weekend on charges of leading a coup d'état against her socialist predecessor, Morales, and charged her with terrorism, sedition and conspiracy alongside her former justice and energy ministers.

According to the documents requesting Áñez's release, which were obtained by AFP, the lawmaker was suffering from a "hypertension crisis" and was able to provide copies of medical records.

Áñez, who had been sentenced to four months pre-trial detention, was being held in the women's prison in La Paz.

The United States expressed "concern" about Áñez's arrest, while the Organisation of American States (OAS) called for the release of "all those detained in this context," while questioning the impartiality of Bolivia's courts.

"The Bolivian judicial system is not in a position to provide the minimum guarantees of a fair trial," the office of OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro said in a statement.

Bolivia is currently led by Luis Arce, a member of Morales's Movement for Socialism (MAS) party that romped to victory in November's general election, winning back the presidency and consolidating its control of Congress.

Morales and Arce both accused Áñez of leading what they call a coup, with MAS losing the presidency for a year.

Áñez came to power in November 2019 after Morales and several senior MAS allies resigned following weeks of protest at his controversial reelection to an unconstitutional fourth term.

As Morales fled into exile, Áñez was the most senior parliamentarian left and was sworn in by Congress as the interim president despite the lack of a quorum, with many MAS legislators boycotting the session.

Arrest warrants have been issued for another three ex-ministers as well as former military and police chiefs and even some civilians accused of leading the protests against Morales's re-election.

– TIMES/AFP

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