The Bolivian justice ordered this Friday six months of preventive detention against General Juan José Zúñiga and two other military officers accused of leading the failed coup against President Luis Arce.

>>> You can also read: Bolivian Minister of the Presidency: “We are called to defend our democracy”

“This preventive detention that the judge is ordering will undoubtedly set a precedent, and (is) a good sign so that this investigation can continue to advance,” said attorney Cesar Siles, who acts as the State’s attorney.

Zúñiga, former commander of the Army; Vice Admiral Juan Arnez, former head of the Navy (Marina); and Alejandro Irahola, former head of the Army’s mechanized brigadewill be held in a maximum security prison on the outskirts of El Alto, a city neighboring La Paz.

The three officers face charges of armed uprising and terrorism, and could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison, Siles told state television.

Although the hearing was virtual, dozens of protesters gathered outside the Prosecutor’s Office and the Police barracks where Zúñiga is being held, in La Paz, with pro-democracy posters.

“People who want to enter with force, with machine guns, with tanks cannot govern. We are not going to allow that, regardless of which government is in place,” Juan Fernandez, a 44-year-old social leader, told AFP.

Twenty arrested for failed coup in Bolivia

As of Friday, 21 active military personnel had been detained, in retirement and civilians for the coup attempt last Wednesday, when troops with tanks besieged the presidential headquarters for several hours before retreating.

There are “a total of 21 people arrested in the case called ‘Failed Coup’,” the Minister of Government (Interior), Eduardo del Castillo, said earlier.

In addition to Zúñiga and Arnez, General Marcelo Zegarra, former head of the Air Force, was also captured and will be presented before the judges in the coming hours.

The authorities arrested the first two at the end of the military uprising, while Zegarra was arrested later when he appeared before the prosecutor with his two lawyers.

The government also highlighted the capture of Sergeant Alan Condori, who was driving the armored vehicle that tried to knock down one of the doors of the presidential palace.

From the beginning, General Zúñiga has been pointed out as the the main person responsible for the attempt to overthrow Arce, who has governed since 2020 under the banners of the left.

During the military rebellion, 14 civilians were injured by pellets fired by soldiers when they entered the square where the presidential palace is.

Several of those attacked underwent “surgical” surgery, according to the Bolivian president.

“From the beginning we have stated that Juan José Zúñiga has not acted alone, all these people, these 21 people, “They have not acted unilaterally,” said Minister Del Castillo.

>>> You can also read: The coups d’état that have marked Latin America: what have they been?


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