Peru Extends Pre-Trial Detention Of Ex-President Castillo

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Peru has extended the pre-trial detention of ex-President Pedro Castillo to 18 months in prison.

A judicial panel within the Supreme Court ordered the extended period of pre-trial detention as prosecutors continue investigation into criminal charges against him.

The decision did not touch on the merits of accusations faced by Castillo, who has been charged with rebellion and conspiracy, but a Supreme Court judge heading up the panel cited the risk of flight by the deposed president.

Castillo has denied all the charges and has said he remains the country’s lawful president.

Protesters gathered outside the jail where he was detained, holding up banners criticizing new President Dina Boluarte and calling for Congress to be shuttered.

Protests have threatened logistics at major copper mines and led to a curfew being declared across swaths of the Andean country.

At least 15 people have been killed in the protests, according to statements from authorities.

Moral incapacity

The leftist Castillo, a former teacher and son of peasant farmers, won a narrow election victory last year running under the banner of the Marxist Free Peru party.

He was removed by an overwhelming vote of lawmakers who accused him of “permanent moral incapacity” just hours after he ordered the Congress dissolved on December 7.

Diplomatic spat

There has been a deepening diplomatic spat with left-leaning countries opposed to Castillo’s removal.

Four nations led by leftist presidents – Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and Mexico – this week signed onto a joint statement declaring Castillo “a victim of undemocratic harassment.”

A bloc of left-wing countries meeting in Havana, including Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua, also backed the jailed Castillo, rejecting what they described as “the political framework created by right-wing forces.”

Foreign Minister Ana Cecilia Gervasi, new to the post after Boluarte took over from Castillo last week, responded Thursday morning by summoning home Peru’s ambassadors in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and Mexico for consultation.

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Gervasi wrote on Twitter that the consultations “relate to interference in the internal affairs of Peru.”

 She did not specify when the talks would take place or what other actions Boluarte’s government might take.

Peru’s constitution allows a president to shut down Congress, but only if lawmakers twice approve motions of no confidence in the president’s Cabinet, which did not happen on the day of his ousting last Wednesday.

(VON)

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