Peruvian justice begins to broaden the focus on Pedro Castillo. Until now, the former president was the only one accused of the failed coup, but this Saturday his right-hand man and the one who had decided to assume his defense, Anibal Torres, who announced his escape via Twitter, joined . The lawyer assures that the Prosecutor’s Office is investigating him for being part of a criminal organization and for rebellion. He maintains that he only limited himself to listening to the presidential message in which Castillo announced the dissolution of Congress and that he would rule by decree. “Given this, I go into hiding,” reports the one who was one of his prime ministers.
Torres has been the person who has remained by the former president’s side since he was arrested just two hours after reading his message. He was seen the next day in the prison where Castillo is, accompanying the rural teacher in his first hearing. The judge decreed seven days of preventive detention to advance the investigation and in view of the risk of escape. The president had already tried to flee when he saw that his improvised plan had no option to succeed. That same Wednesday he left the presidential palace and tried to go to the Mexican Embassy to request asylum, but he did not have time to arrive.
The former president was abandoned by everyone from his message. His ministers, who did not know his intentions, resigned; Congress approved his removal; Justice ordered his arrest and his escorts handed him over to the police instead of taking him to safety at the Mexican legation. Only Torres was left, who has decided to disappear so as not to face justice. The lawyer denounces that they are “isolating and humiliating” the former president to send the message that “no one from the people dares to govern the country.” But Castillo is already completely alone.
Three days have passed since he read the brief message broadcast on television in which he announced an emergency government that would function by decree law. The ministers and officials who were in the same room as Castillo deny having been the authors of the text and assure that they were not aware of what the rural teacher who assumed the presidency in July 2021 was going to read. They could be the next indicated . Prison sentences for rebellion range from 10 to 20 years in jail. Torres, then-Prime Minister Betsy Chavez and Defense Minister Gustavo Bobbio were with him as he read the text.
Nobody wants to fall alongside Castillo, author of a script twist as improvised as it is useless. The professor tried to emulate the autocrat Alberto Fujimori instead of going out to defend himself against his third motion of censure which, at the time he announced the self-coup, he had practically won. Instead, he carried out a political suicide that for now already makes him sleep in jail.
Anibal Torres had never left the teacher alone until this Saturday. The two understood each other well, they spoke the same language. They had been born in Chota, in the Andean mountains, so far from Lima and all the Peruvian centers of power. They fought together for the presidency. The lawyer was one of Castillo’s main trusted men since the second round of the elections.
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Castillo’s adversary in those elections, the conservative Keiko Fujimori, raised hundreds of appeals before the electoral court to invalidate votes at tables where the rural teacher had won massively. She encouraged the specter of fraud and it was Torres who, along with two other lawyers, refuted each complaint. The National Election Jury and various prosecutors ruled them all out. Castillo was able to assume the presidency, although he never managed to take over the Government.
Last February, the then president named Torres prime minister, the fourth in less than 200 days. It was the way of thanking him for his loyalty. It barely lasted six months, he resigned when the cases of corruption in the environment of the Executive began to multiply. In one last move, he tried to present himself these days as the former president’s defense attorney, but he has not served him well. He has been the first to jump ship.
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