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  • Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) militant Gustavo Torrico (C) being arrested, La Paz, Bolivia, Feb. 7, 2020.

    Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) militant Gustavo Torrico (C) being arrested, La Paz, Bolivia, Feb. 7, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @peoplesdispatch

Published 7 February 2020

The United Nations Special Rapporteur warns that the number of illegal detentions is growing in Bolivia.

Bolivia's Special Force for the Fight Against Crime (FELCC) Thursday arrested Movement for Socialism (MAS) lawmaker Gustavo Torrico in La Paz as he was leaving home to work.

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The coup-born regime led by Jeanine Añez accuses Torrico of sedition and terrorism. This has caused outrage among human rights defenders who have been denouncing that the Bolivian government persecutes social activists who dissent.

"This is totally illegal. I appeared before the Prosecutor," Torrico said and added that "there is no sedition. What happens here is an arrest of a socialist militant and I will continue to be a socialist."

"The illegal detention of Lawmaker Torrico is another proof that there is no rule of law in Bolivia," former President Evo Morales said.

"My solidarity with the de-facto government's victims, Gustavo and his family," he added.​​​​​​

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Diego Garcia-Sayan expressed concern about the use of institutions for political persecution.

“I am concerned about the use of judicial and fiscal institutions ​​​​​​​for political persecution purposes. The number of illegal detentions is growing. Today it was the turn of Gustavo Torrico. I request respect for the due process and the independence of institutions,” Garcia-Sayan tweeted.​​​​​​​

"Five former ministers and 2 former directors remain hostages of the de-facto government in the Mexican embassy. Former Minister Romero, my secretary Soliz, my lawyer Hermosa, and social, Indigenous leaders and militants are still being held. We demand justice and freedom. They did not commit any crime."

​​​​​​​According to what prosecutor Marco Villa explained, the accusation against Torrico is based on a statement from a person linked to The Resistance, a paramilitary group that has established a fence around the Mexican Embassy, where former Morales government authorities remain ​​​​​​​as asylees.​​​​​​​

Another former MAS official arrested is Carlos Romero who is accused of corruption in the Executing Unit for the Comprehensive Fight Against Drug Trafficking (UELICN). Paradoxically, however, he was the one who denounced the corruption in that institution.

The U.S.-backed Bolivian regime has also imprisoned Hernan Soliz, who is Evo Morales' cousin, and Patricia Hermosa, who is the legal representative of the Socialist leader.

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