Former Peruvian president sentenced to 18-month detention as death toll in protests rises | Peru

Peruvian judges have ruled that former president Pedro Castillo will be held in preventive detention for 18 months pending trial on charges of rebellion and conspiracy for his attempted shut down congress and rule by decreeas the death toll after a week of violent protests sparked by his ouster rose to at least 15.

A Supreme Court bench has ordered an extension of Castillo’s remand period as prosecutors continue to investigate the criminal charges against him. The ruling did not address the merits of the charges against Castillo, but the panel did address the ousted president’s flight risk.

Protesters gathered outside the prison where he was being held, waving banners criticizing new president Dina Boluarte and calling for the congress to be shut down.

The Mission of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Peru said in a statement“We express our grave concern at the increase in violence in Peru and we deeply regret the death of 15 people. He urged the application of UN standards to control peaceful protests to prevent further violence.

The local health authority in Ayacucho, in Peru’s southern Andes, confirmed on Thursday that seven people were killed and 52 injured in the area as protesters clashed with soldiers filmed on social media firing live ammunition.

The country’s human rights ombudsman’s office issued a statement demanding that the armed forces “immediately stop using firearms and tear gas canisters”.

“Shooting broke out accompanied by helicopters which began to drop tear gas canisters,” human rights ombudsman Eliana Revollar told national radio, referring to the armed forces’ response when protesters invaded the city. ‘airport.

Social media videos from the scene of the protests in Ayacucho showed soldiers using guns on the streets of the city as protesters threw rocks and stormed the airport.

The regional government of Ayacucho demanded “the immediate cessation of the use of firearms…against our people”, in a statement, and blamed the new president Dina Boluarte and the ministers of Defense and ‘Interior for the dead.

“We need peace in Ayacucho. We had a lot of pain in the 80s and 90s, and we cannot allow our people to continue to die,” Carlos Rua, the region’s governor, told national radio. The Andean region was at the epicenter of the brutal conflict with the Shining Path rebel group in which nearly 70,000 people were killed.

The country’s new government declared a 30-day national state of emergency on Wednesday, deploying the army to the streets and suspending the right to assemble and move freely.

“We have to be very careful with issuing these kinds of decrees which, in the end, will generate more deaths,” Rua said, referring to the state of emergency.

The peak of violence occurs on the seventh day of protests against Boluartewith protesters calling for the replacement of all lawmakers and the reinstatement of Castillo, who was expelled after trying to dissolve congress and rule by decree in an effort to avoid indictment for corruption allegations.

Boluarte rushed to send 16 ministers to different parts of the country in a bid to open dialogue and calm the violent protests that have rocked the country. A night curfew has been declared in 15 of the country’s 24 regions.

“Neither violence nor radicalism will put an end to a legal and legitimate government,” Boluarte said earlier on Thursday. “There is no place for fear, but for courage, unity and hope for a country that deserves more from its politicians.”

She urged lawmakers to ‘take the best decisions to shorten the timelines and make the necessary reforms’ as they gathered in plenary to debate her bill to bring the elections forward two years to April 2024.

A newborn baby, who was being taken by ambulance to Lima for surgery, died due to roadblocks south of the capital, National Children’s Hospital director Zulema Tomás told national radio. Another child was in serious condition due to a gunshot wound received during protests in Ayacucho.

Six people have died as a result of traffic accidents and other events related to dozens of roadblocks across the country, the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman reported. More than 200 civilians and 200 police officers have been injured in the past week of unrest, he added.

Clouds of tear gas hung over downtown Lima as violent clashes erupted between thousands of protesters and police on Thursday night. Many had traveled from different corners of Peru to the capital to join a march against the congress, among them Berta Chuculla, who came from Puno on Peru’s southern border with Bolivia to support Castillo.

‘He was unfairly fired and we will not allow it,’ she told the Guardian.

The protests have united several groups, including labor unions, army reservists and indigenous Amazonians, under the banner of ousting deeply unpopular lawmakers from the unicameral chamber.

“At the end of the day, there is no middle ground,” said Omar Coronel, professor of sociology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. “What we have is a polarization between two blocks of people, some who are not necessarily with Castillo but appear as if they are … because they oppose the congress.”

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