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Peruvians await trial of former President Pedro Castillo after indictment for coup and corruption

The ruling proposes accusing Castillo, who is in pretrial detention for his botched self-coup last December, of leading an alleged criminal organization to obtain illicit benefits from fraudulent public works tenders

Presidente de Perú, Pedro Castillo
Presidente de Perú, Pedro Castillo | EFE/ Paolo Aguilar

February 25, 2023 8:42am

Updated: February 25, 2023 8:42am

Peru is headed for a potential political showdown in its court system as citizens await a trial that will line up state prosecutors against their own former president, Pedro Castillo. 

The plenary session of the Peruvian Congress recently approved charges for crimes of corruption allegedly committed by Castillo during his 2021-2022 reign in office. 

The measure was approved with 59 votes in favor, 23 against and 3 abstentions. The complaint will now return to the Prosecutor's Office to present a formal accusation before the Judiciary.

The original constitutional complaint was filed by the Prosecutor's Office in mid-October 2022. 

The new Congressional ruling enables prosecutors to charge Castillo, who is in pretrial detention for his purported self-coup last December.

Members of the Peruvian Congress and judiciary united to stave off the purported coup and have also alleged that Castillo effectively led a criminal organization to obtain illicit benefits from fraudulent public works projects. It also accuses the ex-president of committing crimes against public peace and public administration in the form of collusion.

The Peruvian Congress also recommended charges against the former Minister of Transport and Communications, Juan Silva, and the former head of Housing, Construction and Sanitation, Geiner Alvarado.

The complaint is based on alleged irregularities found in the works of the Tarata III bridge, in the department of San Martín (north), and in other cases of alleged corruption related to public utilities and the Ministry of Housing.

Castillo is currently incarcerated as part of an 18-month preventive detention order from the country's Supreme Court.

Congress dismissed the former Peruvian president on Dec. 7 for "permanent moral incapacity" and instead appointed his vice president, Dina Boluarte, as his interim replacement by constitutional succession.

Since then, many demonstrators have clashed with another resulting in the death of an estimated 70 people. 

Boluarte introduced a bill on Feb. 2 to expedite elections in 2023 to calm the protests amid Congress struggling to come to an agreement after weeks of political debate.

The bill proposes holding congressional and presidential elections in October this year with newly elected officials taking power in December. Newly elected officials would serve a five-year term until July 2028.