A court on Friday sentenced former Bolivian President Jeanine Anez to 10 years in prison, more than a year after she was arrested on charges of plotting to oust her rival and predecessor Evo Morales, a suspicion many see as fabricated.
Anez, who has been detained pending trial since March 2021, has repeatedly denounced what she considered a politically motivated prosecution.
The former acting president will spend ten years in a women’s prison in La Paz, according to what a court of first instance announced in a decision that comes three months after the start of her trial, knowing that the prosecutors demanded a 15-year prison sentence.
Anez was convicted of crimes “contrary to the constitution and her negligence” and was sentenced to serve a “10-year sentence” on charges dating back to before she took office when she was a senator.
And Anez previously announced that she would appeal if she was convicted, saying, “We will not stop there, we will turn to the international judicial system.”
Former armed forces chief William Kaliman and former police chief Yuri Calderon, both fugitives, were also sentenced to ten years in prison.
Anez still faces a separate case in court for sedition and other charges linked to her short term as president.
At the beginning of her presidential term, Anez called in the police and the army to restore order. A post-election conflict killed 22 people, according to the Commission on Human Rights in the Americas.
Consequently, Anez is also facing charges of genocide, under which she could be sentenced to between 10 and 20 years in prison.
The right-wing Anez took office as the acting president of Bolivia in November 2019 after Morales fled the country after declaring him to win a fourth consecutive presidential term, amid widespread protests and accusations of electoral fraud.
The Organization of American States said at the time that it had found clear evidence of irregularities in the vote in favor of Morales, who has been in power for 14 years.
Several figures who were likely to succeed Morales (mostly members of his MAS party) resigned and fled the country, leaving power in the hands of Anez, then Vice President of the Senate.
While little was known about her, the former TV presenter and lawyer declared herself acting president on November 12, 2019, two days after Morales’ resignation.
The Constitutional Court recognized the state of Anez, but members of the “MAS” party considered it illegitimate.
An election was held a year later, with Morales’ ally Luis Arce winning. The latter returned to Bolivia in November 2020, after the presidency and Congress were in the grip of his party.
After handing over power to Arce, Anez was arrested in March 2021 on charges of taking power based on abuses.