Judge dictates 36 months of preventive detention for former president Pedro Castillo for corruption case

The Peruvian supreme judge Juan Carlos Checkley imposed this Thursday 36 months of preventive detention for former president Pedro Castillo, who is already in prison for his failed self-coupwhile being investigated for a corruption case.

During a virtual hearing, Checkley said the move was "suitable" because "It is not a common trial, but one that is highly dangerous" and explained that the ex-president, detained for 18 months in preventive detention for the self-coup, has incurred in hindering Justice by intimidating witnesses, which has even reached the Attorney General herself, Patricia Benavides.

In this sense, the magistrate said that Castillo faces a probable sentence of 32 years in prison for the alleged crimes of criminal organization, influence peddling and collusion.

The preventive detention against the ex-president responds to the pressure he exerted for the appointment of an official without the technical profile as general manager of the state-owned Petroperú, as well as the cancellation of an international tender for the purchase of biodiesel and its award to a specific company .

Similarly, the appointment of former Minister of Transport and Communications Juan Silva, a fugitive from justice, with the alleged intention of taking over that ministry with related officials who facilitate "direct the projects" of infrastructure, in charge of that portfolio.

In the same way, the judge cited the two million soles (half a million dollars) that the businesswoman Karelim López said she had delivered to Castillo, through her advisers in the Government Palace, to be favored with an award of public works.

Checkley claimed that "Castillo had a key participation" in these "illegal conduct".

Regarding Castillo’s danger of flight and entrenchment, the supreme judge specified that the arrest of the former president, last December, occurred "when he tried to seek asylum in the Mexican embassy"which was corroborated by the public statements of the ambassador in Lima and the Mexican president himself, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Castillo’s wife and two minor children were received by López Obrador and granted asylum by that country, hours after the failed coup.

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Regarding the attachment, the magistrate recalled that Castillo does not have a current real address and that the Barbadillo prison, where he has been held since December, cannot be considered his current address, as requested by his lawyer.

CASTILLO DENIES ALLEGATIONS

In the previous procedure, last Tuesday, Castillo denied "emphatically and categorically" that he is the author and is part of a criminal organization formed during his Government (2021-2022), as accused by the Prosecutor’s Office when arguing his request for 36 months of preventive detention against him.

"I categorically and categorically deny that I am the author and that I am part of a criminal network, the only crime I have committed is serving my country as President of the Republic"Castillo said in a virtual hearing called by Judge Checkley.

"I have not committed any crime, Your Honor, Peru knows, the people know, that today those who have made the constitutional accusation would also in any case be part of this alleged criminal organization, because most of them passed through the offices of the presidential office"he pointed.

He rejected that the prosecutor’s request is based on a possible flight risk when, according to what he said, he is "in a high security prison" and that he has no family roots, since his wife and children are asylum seekers in Mexico.

"Here there is no danger of flight, my home roots today is this place (the prison)"he reiterated before telling the judge that "he has to show that he is on the side of the people not on the side of the enemies".

The Public Ministry has also requested 36 months of pretrial detention for the former Ministers of Transport and Housing Juan Silva Villegas and Geiner Alvarado López, respectively.

Silva, who has been a fugitive from Justice since last year, is accused of the crime of criminal organization and simple collusion, while Alvarado is indicated as the alleged perpetrator of the crime of criminal organization.

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