LA PAZ/SANTA CRUZ, Bolivia, Dec 29 (Reuters) – A Bolivian courtroom sentenced right-wing opposition chief Luis Fernando Camacho to 4 months of pre-trial detention, a day after he was arrested in connection to 2019 social unrest that noticed former leftist President Evo Morales flee the nation.
Camacho was arrested on Wednesday and brought to the political capital La Paz, sparking protests amid escalating tensions between his rich agricultural base within the area of Santa Cruz and the nationwide authorities.
Camacho, the governor of Santa Cruz, is dealing with a attainable switch to a excessive safety jail in El Alto.
Prosecutors have charged Camacho with “terrorism” and are additionally investigating allegations together with attainable connections to assaults on the president and high-ranking state dignitaries, state prosecutor Omar Mejillones stated on Thursday.
“I am going to by no means give up, it is a battle for democracy and freedom,” Camacho, a proponent of greater federalization, stated in a press release on his Twitter account. Camacho has stated he’s harmless of the costs and his lawyer stated that he was “unjustly” detained.
His arrest sparked protests in Santa Cruz, with many individuals waving the regional flag. Civil teams began mobilizing highway blockades and a basic strike known as from 12.00 a.m. (0700 GMT) on Friday morning.
“There are occasions for peace and instances for battle,” stated Keyla Garcia, a congresswomen from Camacho’s occasion who led a rally Thursday, quoting the Bible.
Counter-protesters additionally got here to the streets to demand justice, with individuals displaying coffins symbolizing victims of the 2019 unrest when Morales fled the nation amid protests, some led by Camacho.
“Could he go to jail for thirty years. We wish justice. I used to be within the place the place they killed the primary sufferer,” stated Maria Laura, a pro-government protester.
On Thursday, Bolivia’s federal prosecutor stated they issued the arrest warrant because of the danger Camacho may flee justice or hinder the investigation, after he repeatedly refused summons associated to Morale’s coup d’etat case.
Earlier this month, Camacho stated he would not give himself to La Paz and known as on authorities to “come to my city” in the event that they needed to jail him.
Camacho, who completed third within the 2020 presidential contest, just lately backed extended protests in Santa Cruz demanding the federal government proceed with a census probably to present his area extra tax revenues and seats in Congress.
The state lawyer’s workplace has denied claims the arrest was both a kidnapping or politically motivated.
Most governments throughout the area have been largely silent on the difficulty Thursday, although a spokesperson for the United Nations stated Secretary-Common Antonio Guterres was involved by the developments, and calling for calm and restraint.
“He reiterates the significance of adhering to the rule of regulation and assuring due course of and transparency in authorized proceedings,” the U.N. spokesperson stated in a press release.
America stated it was monitoring the state of affairs, urging a peaceable and democratic decision.
Former president Morales had stated on Wednesday he hoped Camacho’s detention would carry justice after three years.
“Luis Fernando Camacho will reply for the coup d’etat that led to robberies, persecutions, arrests and massacres of the de facto authorities,” Morales tweeted.
Former president Carlos Mesa, an ally of Camacho’s who ran towards Morales within the 2019 election, advised Reuters the case stemmed from “a monumental electoral fraud carried out by Evo Morales” and that the terrorism cost “doesn’t make any sense.”
In the meantime, a gaggle of Bolivian lawmakers from Camacho’s Creemos occasion despatched a letter to the Inter-American Fee on Human Rights calling for precautionary measures to guard Camacho’s “security and integrity.”
There was an uneasy calm Thursday in Santa Cruz, the place indicators of harm have been seen after protests Wednesday ended with the prosecutor’s headquarters set on fireplace.
A minister stated his home had additionally been set on fireplace and robbed, including Camacho and his allies could be “accountable for something that may occur” to him or his household.
The federal prosecutor’s workplace stated it will search the “harshest punishment” attainable for these accountable for harm in Santa Cruz.
(This story has been corrected to say size of detention is 4 months, not six, after official clarification)
Reporting by Daniel Ramos and Monica Machicao in La Paz, Adam Jourdan in Santa Cruz, Kylie Madry and Raul Cortes in Mexico Metropolis; Extra reporting by Valentine Hilaire and Sarah Morland in Mexico Metropolis, Daphne Psaledakis in Washington and Michelle Nichols on the United Nations; Enhancing by Brendan O’Boyle, Rosalba O’Brien, Aurora Ellis and Kim Coghill
Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.