A Bolivian court has found former President Jeanine Anez guilty of masterminding the coup that brought her to power during a 2019 political crisis.
She was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Nez, 54, was convicted on Friday of “unconstitutional decisions” and “dereliction of duty.”
Prosecutors said Onez, who was a right-wing senator at the time, violated rules ensuring constitutional and democratic order after Bolivia’s 2019 presidential election.
Bolivia was divided over whether a coup occurred when then-President Evo Morales resigned in 2019, with Onez rising to the presidency amid a leadership vacuum. Morales’ departure came after mass protests over a disputed election in which he claimed a controversial fourth consecutive term.
Áñez asserts that she is innocent. The contentious case has further exposed the fault lines in a deeply divided country while raising concerns about its judicial process.
Cesar Munoz, a senior researcher at Americas In Human Rights Watch.
Anez was not allowed to attend the trial in person, instead following the hearing and sharing from prison. She has been detained since her arrest in March 2021 on preliminary charges related to terrorism, sedition and conspiracy.
Members and supporters of Morales’s party, Movement to Socialism (MAS), which returned to power in 2020, say Anez played a key role in what he described as a coup against Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, who oversaw the dramatic reduction of poverty. Chairman from 2005 to 2019.
As president, Nez drew criticism for settling political scores when her administration prosecuted former MAS officials.
Anez’s supporters say her trial was illegal and political. At trial, Anez said she was a product of circumstances and that her rise to the top position helped calm a frayed nation and laid the groundwork for the October 2020 elections.
“I didn’t move a finger to become president, but I did what I had to do,” Nez said in her latest statement to the judge. “I took over the presidency of the republic out of commitment as stipulated in the constitution.”
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