Bolivia’s former PM sentenced to 10 years for engineering ‘coup’

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Bolivia’s former PM sentenced to 10 years for engineering ‘coup’

Former Bolivian President Jeanine Áñez has been sentenced to 10 years in jail over what prosecutors say was a coup to oust her predecessor Evo Morales.

A court found Áñez, who was in office in 2019-20, guilty of making “decisions contrary to the constitution”.

Áñez has repeatedly said she is the victim of a political vendetta.

Mr Morales quit and fled Bolivia after the chief of the army urged him to step down amid protests over allegations of vote rigging.

Áñez, 54, was convicted by the court in La Paz on Friday. The court said she would serve her term in a women’s prison in the city.

The former president has denounced what she describes as political persecution by Mr Morales’ Mas Socialist party.

Mas won a landslide victory in presidential and congressional elections in 2020, paving the way for Mr Morales to return to Bolivia from Argentina and take over the party leadership.

His colleague Luis Arce was elected president, who stressed in a BBC interview that he would pursue his own political path.

As the most senior senator, Áñez became caretaker president after Mr Morales fled. But members of the Mas party accused her, in cahoots with police and military figures, of engineering his overthrow.

She was detained in March 2021.

After Friday’s verdict, Áñez’s defence said she would appeal to international organisations to seek justice.