The former president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, will remain in prison for 18 months, after being detained to be investigated for rebellion for trying to stage a coup and shut down Congress, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.
The decision of a supreme judge, who declared a request from the prosecution founded, is based on the fact that there is a “danger of flight” of the defendant, who tried to seek asylum in the Mexican embassy in Lima after the frustrated self-coup on December 7. The measure extends until June 2024.
Meanwhile, the Peruvian government ordered a night curfew in 15 provinces located in 8 departments, out of the 24 that the country has, after a day in which at least six anti-government protesters have died, which raised the number of deceased to 14 since last Sunday.
Dozens of protesters calling for the release of the ex-president are camping outside a police prison in eastern Lima, where the ex-president is being held.
At least six protesters have died in the first 20 hours of the state of national emergency in Peru, which came into force this Thursday, in the protests that add up to 14 deaths since Sunday and that call for the resignation of President Dina Boluarte, closure of Congress and the call for a constituent.
This is how the hearing went
Neither the former president nor any of his lawyers appeared at the beginning of the hearing to review the request for preventive detention.
At the beginning of the hearing, convened by Supreme Judge Juan Carlos Checkley, it was reported that Castillo, who is serving preventive arrest, refused to receive notification of the prosecutor’s request.
In this sense, Judge Checkley reported that the ex-governor’s defense would be assumed by the public defender Italo Díaz, since none of his accredited defenders appeared at the hearing.
(Also read: Peru: former President Pedro Castillo will continue to be detained)
In this regard, the lawyer Ronald Atencio, one of Castillo’s defenders, reported on Twitter that neither he nor his colleague Raúl Noblecilla were going to participate in the preventive detention hearing.
“There are many arguments that, in conversation with Pedro (Castillo) prompted us to make that decision,” he said before pointing out that among them is an “illegal and express vacancy (removal).
He added that Congress has also carried out a “lifting of the pre-trial”, to which the ex-governor is entitled, “illegal and express” and that the hearing has also been scheduled “to continue keeping Pedro Castillo Terrones in custody.”
(Also: Peru: Pedro Castillo asks the IACHR to intercede for his rights)
“Although it is true, lawyers protect the rights in the judicial jurisdiction, however, in this hearing there are no minimum guarantees that this will be the case. They will see the result and they will realize it, we will witness the execution of a human being,” he concluded.
The accusation against Castillo
At the beginning of the hearing to review the fiscal request, Supreme Prosecutor Alcides Chinchay presented the arguments of the request against Castillo for the alleged co-authorship of the crimes of conspiracy for rebellion, abuse of authority and disturbance to public tranquility.
The prosecutor also requested the same term of detention for the former prime minister and legal adviser to Castillo Aníbal Torres, who is currently in hiding, for the alleged commission of co-authored rebellion and conspiracy for the rebellion.
In the case of Torres, the former president of the Supreme Court and the Judiciary Duberlí Rodríguez appeared at the hearing as his defense attorney.
(Keep reading: The Prosecutor’s Office of Peru requests 18 months of preventive detention for Castillo)
The prosecutor maintained when justifying before the judge the term that the Public Ministry has requested that they estimate “that this requires 18 months, to comply with the term of the preparatory investigation, the time that the intermediate stage and the oral trial will eventually last.”
According to the arguments of the Public Ministry, Castillo and Torres face a possible sentence that will exceed the minimum 4 years to request preventive detention and they can reach 10 years.
Among other arguments, the Prosecutor’s Office also emphasized a possible “flight danger” of Castillo, since it has been reported that after trying to carry out a “self-coup” on December 7, he sought to go to the Embassy of Mexico, a country that has expressed its intention to grant him asylum.
*With information from AFP and EFE
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