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Peru's former prime minister detained and charged with conspiracy

The former prime minister and other former ministers are being investigated as co-conspirators of former Peruvian president Pedro Castillo's coup

Former Prime Minister Betssy Chavez
Former Prime Minister Betssy Chavez | EFE

June 21, 2023 7:35am

Updated: June 21, 2023 8:51am

Peru’s former prime minister was arrested by authorities on Tuesday for allegedly conspiring against the state and taking part in the coup attempted by former President Pedro Castillo. 

Former Prime Minister Betssy Chavez was detained at her home in the city of Tacna, after a criminal chamber of Peru’s Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant for her, according to local media reports. Prosecutors are requesting 18 months of preventative imprisonment. 

Chavez was arrested more than six months after former president Castillo was detained on rebellion charges. Last year, Castillo was removed from power for trying to dissolve Peru’s Congress and stage a coup d’etat. The same day, a majority of the South American country’s 130-person Congress voted to impeach Castillo for his actions. 

"She has collaborated at all times. Immediately, she said goodbye to her family. Visually, she is in good condition. But the forensic doctor will have to verify," said PNP Colonel Ramin Ramos after her arrest. 

The former president was arrested on his way to seek asylum at the Mexican embassy. The same day, Peru’s Vice President, Dina Boluarte, was sworn in as the first female president of the country. 

The former prime minister and other former ministers are being investigated as co-conspirators of Castillo's coup, including Willy Huertas Olivas and Roberto Sanchez Palomino. Chavez, however, has repeatedly denied taking any part in the coup or even knowing about it beforehand. 

After Chavez’s arrest, her lawyer, Erwin Siccha, said that the decision of pre-trial detention for his client was unfair and disproportional given the lack of evidence presented at the hearings. 

"The Judiciary has issued the order. We believe that it is an unfair and disproportional decision, also because there is convincing evidence that refutes the Public Ministry's claim," he said.