Bolivia ex-president to get medical care in prison under UN monitoring

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In this file photo taken on March 13, 2021, former interim Bolivia’s President Jeanine Anez (centre) is escorted by police members of the Special Force against Crime (FELCC) after being arrested in La Paz. — AFP pic
Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - In this file photo taken on March 13, 2021, former interim Bolivia’s President Jeanine Anez (centre) is escorted by police members of the Special Force against Crime (FELCC) after being arrested in La Paz. — AFP pic

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LA PAZ, Mar 21 — Bolivia’s former interim president Jeanine Anez will receive medical care at the La Paz penitentiary where she is being held, with UN human rights officials monitoring the treatment, a prison official said yesterday.

Prisons chief Juan Carlos Limpias told reporters that “we have everything we need to preserve her health” at the Miraflores Women’s Penitentiary, where Anez was transferred earlier in the day from another detention center in the Bolivian capital.

The UN monitors will ensure “there are no rights violations,” Limpias said.

Authorities arrested and detained Anez, 53, last weekend on charges — deemed trumped-up by opposition politicians — of leading a coup d’etat against her socialist predecessor, Evo Morales.

She was charged with terrorism, sedition and conspiracy alongside her former justice and energy ministers and was being held in pre-trial detention. Anez, a conservative, served as interim president from November 2019 to November 2020.

Since Thursday, Anez had been asking for a transfer to a hospital, saying she was suffering a “hypertension crisis,” according to documents requesting her release, which were obtained by AFP.

On Friday, in a confusing sequence of events, a three-judge tribunal authorized the move to a hospital and then, hours later, reversed itself.

Limpias said Anez was stable and “it was not necessary for her to leave (prison),” and that prison officials would turn medical documents over to the UN monitors for verification.

Anez’s daughter, Carolina Ribera, called the treatment of her mother “an abuse, an injustice,” saying in a video posted to social media that her mother needed to be seen by specialists and that her life was at risk.

Anez was arrested March 14 along with her two ex-ministers on charges related to Morales’s ouster from power in 2019.

In November of that year Morales stepped down during violent protests over his controversial re-election, and two days later Anez was sworn in as interim president.

Morales fled the country, going first to Mexico and then Argentina, after both the army and the police dropped their support.

But Luis Arce, a member of Morales’s Movement for Socialism (MAS) party, romped to victory last November and consolidated control of Congress.

Anez has denounced her arrest as “political persecution.”

The United States has expressed “concern” about Anez’s arrest, while the Organization of American States has questioned the independence of Bolivia’s courts and called for the release of “all those detained in this context.” — AFP

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