Former Bolivian interim President Jeanine EZ was sentenced to ten years in jail on Friday for charges related to her taking office in 2019 during violent protests that forced her predecessor, Evo Morales, to quit and flee the country.
When EZ declared herself president in what Morales and his party have labeled a coup, she was found guilty of neglect of duty and acting against the constitution by the court.
Morales’ alleged abuse of authority sparked a justified rebellion in the streets, according to EZ’s supporters. They believe that the removal of Bolivia’s first Indigenous president and his vice president created a power vacuum, allowing EZ to take over as interim president as the Senate’s second president. The defense has stated that the verdict would be appealed.
“I did not lift a finger to become president,” EZ claimed from the prison where she is being imprisoned. “But I did what I had to do to pacify a country that Morales left convulsed when he went.”
Morales resigned after countrywide protests over allegations of vote manipulation in an election he claimed to have won on Oct. 20 to win a fourth term in government. Morales has denied any wrongdoing. Morales was forced to seek asylum in Mexico after the protests left 37 people dead.
Morales returned to Bolivia after his party, known by its Spanish initials MAS, was re-elected in the 2020 elections.
According to MAS deputy Juan José Jáuregui, the trial creates a “historic precedent” against impunity.
Former Armed Forces commander Williams Kaliman and ex-police commander Vladimir Calderon were also sentenced to ten years in jail by the court. Four other former military commanders were sentenced to lesser terms.
About 50 people hung banners protesting ez outside the prison where she was being kept.