Bolivian court overturns arrest warrant for former president Evo Morales | World


Bolivian justice has annulled the arrest warrant for former president Evo Morales for alleged terrorism crimes a week after his political godson, Luis Arce, was elected president, Judge Jorge Quino said on Monday (26).

The detention order against the ex-president, exiled in Argentina, has been suspended because “his rights have been disrespected, basically the right to defense, as the ex-president has not been duly summoned,” said Quino, president of the Departmental Court of Justice of La Paz, to Unitel broadcaster.

On July 6, the Bolivian Attorney General’s Office had accused Morales of alleged terrorism crimes and their financing and asked for his preventive detention again.

Another order of imprisonment for insurrection and terrorism had been issued in December against the former president (2006-2019), after resigning the presidency on November 10 amid a social upheaval and allegations of electoral fraud.

The former indigenous president and his party, the Movement for Socialism (MAS), rejected all the accusations and said they were politically motivated.

The Prosecutor’s Office had also filed another lawsuit against Morales for alleged fraud in the October 2019 elections, in which he won reelection for a fourth term, but were subsequently annulled after allegations of irregularities. There has been no progress on this case in court.

In addition, the Attorney General’s Office had tried earlier this year to get Interpol to issue an international arrest warrant against Morales, but the organization declined to consider that these were political and not criminal matters.

Morales has been the target of several accusations by Jeanine Áñez’s transitional government during the campaign for the October 18 elections, won by Arce, his former finance minister and creator of the “economic miracle” of his 14-year term.

On September 4, the Bolivian government contacted the International Criminal Court (CPI) in The Hague to denounce Morales for alleged crimes against humanity for the roadblocks in August.

However, this action appeared to be purely symbolic and in search of electoral gains, as a State may ask the CPI to examine whether it is appropriate to intervene in a specific case, but the Court only does so in the event of failure of the national penal system.

The Bolivian prosecutor’s office said it would investigate the blockades, but never reported on the progress.

Living in exile for a year, Morales will decide in the next few days whether to return to the country for the inauguration of Luis Arce, scheduled for 8 November.

“I think that this week, until the end of the week, we will decide when to return and how to return,” Morales told Kawsachun Coca broadcaster in Chapare (central Bolivia).

“Many are suggesting that my return is on the 11th [de novembro]. I left on the 11th (from Bolivia to Mexico) and would return on that date “, explained Morales, who analyzes the possibilities.

The former leftist president sought refuge first in Mexico and then in Argentina after resigning Bolivia’s presidency.

“I am very grateful to the President of Argentina, Alberto Fernández, because he offered to take me personally to Bolivia,” he concluded.

On Friday, the former president traveled from Buenos Aires, where he lives as an exile, to Venezuela, with a return scheduled for Sunday.

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