Former Bolivian interim President Jeanine Áñez handwrote a letter saying she was being tortured and abused while under arrest. “My first words to the Bolivian people from the prison of the dictatorship,” (of President Luis Arce) she said in a message that was widely spread through social media on Tuesday.
But Senate Speaker Andrónico Rodríguez denied her allegations, saying ”due process is being respected.” The human rights of former de facto president Jeanine Áñez and her ministers have not been violated, according to Rodríguez. “She is mentioning that the rule of law has been lost, which is totally false. The Assembly is asking for due process, that all rights be respected, but we cannot go to the extreme of asking that he have privileges in jail,” Rodríguez underlined.
Áñez is being charged for her involvement in the 2019 uprising that led to President Evo Morales' resignation and her subsequent accession to power in what was, according to the prosecution, a coup d'état which comprised crimes of sedition and terrorism.
The former interim president's preventive arrest initially for four months has been extended to six months, due to the risk of escape. Last Friday she was transferred to a clinic due to her deteriorating health (hypertension) but hours later she was transferred to a different detention facility.
Senator Leonardo Loza described the letter as “a political letter, it has nothing to do with the health issue. Earlier they spoke of political persecution in order not to respond to the Bolivian justice.”
Añez claims ”[t]hey have already taken my freedom (...) now they want to take my health, as no independent doctors were allowed to check on her and blamed Arce and his government should something “greater” happen to her health.
Bolivian Penitentiary Bureau Chief Juan Carlos Limpias explained that after her trip to the clinic she had been taken to another prison so so that the forensic institute can verify the state of her health.
I will be here for as long as my body can hold me, Áñez wrote, as she added she had no intention of leaving Bolivia, unlike those who cowardly resigned in order not to deal with of a country on fire.”
“I was never a terrorist. I assumed the Presidency by constitutional succession to pacify Bolivia. There was no coup, there was a fraud,” she claimed in her letter. She also said her nephews, aged 20 and 28, were tortured by the police officers who were part of the operation to arrest her and other relatives, the elderly and children were threatened.
Añez is currently incarcerated at the Miraflores women's facility, where she is isolated to observe the quarantine measures in force under the anti-covid-19 protocol effective within prisons.
“I am a single mother and if they kill me by one means or another (...) I just want to ask the Bolivian people for the safety of my children and my family and that Bolivians never give up in the face of dictatorship and political persecution,” she added.