The prison term of former Peruvian president Pedro Castillo was extended by 18 months amid escalating diplomatic tensions with left-leaning nations in the region who oppose his removal as ongoing roadblocks jeopardise logistics at significant copper mines.
According to a ruling made on Thursday by a Supreme Court judicial panel, Castillo, who was initially imprisoned for seven days, will remain behind bars as prosecutors continue their investigation into the criminal charges brought against the former leader.
The ruling did not address the validity of Castillo’s charges of rebellion and conspiracy, but the judge overseeing the panel mentioned the former president’s potential for flight.
Castillo has refuted every accusation and maintained his legitimacy as the nation’s leader.
Just hours after ordering the dissolution of the Congress on December 7, the leftist Castillo, a former teacher and the son of peasant farmers who narrowly won the election last year while running under the banner of the Marxist Free Peru party, was removed by an overwhelming vote of lawmakers who accused him of “permanent moral incapacity.”
Castillo, who presided over the South American nation for just 17 months, was abruptly ousted, and his leftist allies have rallied to his defence as irate and occasionally violent street protests enter their second week and a state of emergency is proclaimed.
Castillo was labelled “a victim of undemocratic harassment” in a joint statement signed by Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, and Mexico earlier this week. These four countries are all headed by leftist presidents.
Castillo was also vehemently supported by a group of left-leaning nations gathered in Havana, including Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, who denounced “the political framework created by right-wing forces” and supported Castillo in prison.
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President Dina Boluarte, who took over from Castillo last week, appointed Ana Cecilia Gervasi as the country’s new foreign minister. On Thursday, she responded by calling Peru’s ambassadors in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, and Mexico to Lima for consultation.
In a post on Twitter, Gervasi stated that the consultations “relate to interference in the internal affairs of Peru.”
She didn’t say when the talks would happen or what other steps the Boluarte administration might take.
In accordance with Peru’s constitution, the president may dissolve Congress, but only after lawmakers have twice approved motions of no confidence in the president’s Cabinet, which did not occur on the day of the president’s removal last Wednesday.