Pretrial detention of former Peruvian president Pedro Castillo has been extended from 18 to 36 months. This was decided by Peru’s Supreme Court for Preliminary Investigations, explaining that Castillo is accused, among other things, of being the head of an alleged criminal organization. Castillo, a former Marxist-inspired leftist teacher, had been removed from his post and then arrested in early December for trying to dissolve Congress, i.e. the unicameral Peruvian parliament. The judge had ordered him 18 months in custody, now extended, following the decision of Congress to waive the immunity he enjoyed.
The former president, who attended the hearing of the Supreme Court via videoconference from the Lima prison, said he will now do whatever the law allows him: he will present an appeal against the Court’s decision. Castillo also denied being responsible for the crimes he is accused of: «I categorically deny that I am the author and that I am part of a criminal network. The only crime I have committed was to serve my country as President of the Republic». The prosecution believes that Castillo was the head of a criminal network that illegally handled public procurement and laundered money and which included some members of his family and his government.
The judges of the Supreme Court have also decided the 36-month pre-trial detention for the former Minister of Transport of Castillo, currently a fugitive, Juan Silva.
Castillo’s attempt to dissolve Congress, and his subsequent replacement by Dina Boluarte, his vice-president, had aggravated the ongoing political crisis in Peru, a country which in just over four years has had six presidents and which is extremely precarious. Protest demonstrations have continued in many cities since December, causing at least 50 deaths and about 600 injuries. Protesters are calling for Boluarte’s resignation, the dissolution of parliament and the calling of new elections.
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