A judge in Peru has ordered Pedro Castillo’s detention for seven days as authorities investigate allegations of “sedition and conspiracy” against the former president, who was removed from office and arrested this week.
Castillo appeared in court for the first time via videoconference on Thursday, a day later The National Assembly voted overwhelmingly to remove him in the third impeachment attempt of his short and fraught presidency.
Thursday’s preliminary hearing sought to assess the legality of Castillo’s arrest, as well as address the attorney general’s office’s investigation into allegations that he staged a sedition that was denied. allegations.
Looking down and worried, former leader of the teachers’ union gave a simple yes or no answer and declined when asked if he wanted to speak in court. Hours after the hearing ended, Castillo was sentenced to seven days in prison as the investigation began.
Legislature held by the opposition in Peru voted to remove Castillo from office on Wednesday afternoon, just hours after the leftist leader signaled plans to “temporarily” dissolve Parliament and rule by decree.
Castillo has said the measures are intended to “re-establish democracy and the rule of law” in the South American country, but his announcement has drawn widespread condemnation from observers, who accuse the president of taking action. perform a “coup”.
After the Congress successfully approved the impeachment vote, Castillo was detained by police in the capital, Lima. He is being held in a police prison where former President Alberto Fujimori, convicted of abuse of poweralso detained.
The Peruvian prosecutor’s office said it carried out a dawn raid on the presidential palace and several ministerial offices in Lima looking for evidence against Castillo.
Castillo’s defense team argued that he was arbitrarily removed from the presidency of Peru on charges of sedition. Victor Perez, one of his attorneys, argued: “Clearly sedition was not committed” because it did not materialize.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador revealed on Thursday that Castillo had called his office to request asylum at his country’s embassy and that he planned to allow it, but the leader The Peruvian religious was arrested before he could arrive.
The Mexican ambassador to Peru was able to meet Castillo, where he is being held, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard also said.
Mariana Sanchez of Al Jazeera, reporting from outside the Lima prison where Castillo is being held, said a small group of his supporters had gathered outside the prison on Thursday. “[They] We are very concerned about Castillo’s health,” said Sanchez.
“The prosecutors have requested [for] preliminary detention. Castillo will stay here [in prison] because according to prosecutors, there is a danger that he could escape,” she added.
Meanwhile, Dina Boluarte, who was sworn in on Wednesday afternoon as Peru’s first female president following the impeachment vote, pleaded for a “ceasefire” to unite a nation Gia is marked with year of political turmoil and division.
Boluarte, who previously served as Castillo’s vice president, also suggested that she would consider holding early elections – which would require the approval of a difficult-to-assemble constitutional amendment. “I know there are voices in favor of early voting and this is democratically respectable,” Boluarte said on Thursday.
Castillo’s stunning fall came after he nearly defeated his right-wing opponent, Keiko Fujimori, in The 2021 election is divisive.
But his presidency was marred by allegations of corruption almost from the start. The budding politician was also accused of incompetence after appointing five cabinet and around 80 ministers in just over a year and a half in power.
His most recent legal battle began in October when the prosecutor’s office filed a constitutional complaint against Castillo for allegedly leading “a criminal organization” to profit from his contracts. state and obstruct investigations.
Congress summoned him last week to respond to accusations of a “moral incompetence” to govern. Castillo called the allegations “slander” by groups seeking to “take advantage of and usurp the power that people have taken from them at the polls”.
On Thursday, Colombia’s left-wing President, Gustavo Petro, said Castillo had “committed political suicide” by weaponizing a rarely used constitutional provision against his opponents in the National congregation, who he said never allowed Castillo to rule.
“It is impossible to fight democracy with more anti-democracy actions,” Petro said, echoing similar comments by Brazil’s incoming President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Petro also called on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to intervene, saying that Castillo could not get a fair trial in Peru.