La Paz (AFP) – Bolivian ex-president Jeanine Anez was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison, more than a year after her arrest for an alleged plot dismissed as fictional by many to oust her rival and predecessor Evo Morales.
Anez, 54, has been held in pre-trial detention since March 2021, and has consistently denounced what she calls political persecution.
The former interim leader will serve 10 years in a women’s prison in La Paz, the city’s First Sentencing Court announced in a decision that comes three months after her trial began.
The court said she had been convicted in the criminal case for crimes “contrary to the Constitution and a breach of duties… sentencing her to a punishment of 10 years,” over accusations stemming from when she was a senator, before becoming president.
Prosecutors had asked for a 15-year jail sentence.
Anez still faces charges in a separate, pending case for sedition and other charges related to her short presidential stint.
Right-wing Anez became Bolivia’s interim president in November 2019 after Morales, who claimed to have won a fourth consecutive term as president, fled the country in the face of mass protests against alleged electoral fraud.
The Organization of American States (OAS) said at the time it had found clear evidence of voting irregularities in favor of Morales, who had been in power for 14 years.
Many who would have succeeded Morales all members of his MAS party also resigned and fled. This left opposition member Anez, then vice-president of the senate, as the highest ranking official remaining.
The Constitutional Court recognized Anez’s mandate as interim, caretaker president, but MAS members disputed her legitimacy.
Elections were held a year later, and won by Luis Arce a Morales protege.
After handing over the presidential reins, Anez was arrested in March 2021, accused of irregularly assuming the presidency.
At the start of her short-lived presidency, Anez had called in the police and military to restore order. The post-election conflict caused about 35 deaths, according the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
For that, Anez also faces genocide charges.
With the presidency and congress both firmly in MAS control, Morales returned to Bolivia in November 2020.