On March 9, the judiciary of Peru extended the preventive detention of former left-wing President Pedro Castillo from 18 months to 36 months. Castillo was overthrown in a parliamentary coup in December 2022 and was sentenced to 18 months of preventive detention shortly after.
Supreme Court Judge Juan Carlos Checkley ordered the three-year pretrial detention for Castillo over alleged accusations of organized crime, influence peddling, and collusion in cases related to public works contracts and in the sale of fuel to the state-owned petroleum company Petroperú.
The ruling has been widely criticized as being politically motivated and part of the attempt to completely exclude the ousted president from political and civilian life.
In May 2022, the prosecutor’s office began investigating Castillo’s former Transportation Minister Juan Silva and six congressmen of the opposition center-right Popular Action party for irregularities in the tender for the construction of the Tarata III Bridge.
Businesswoman Karelim López, who was being investigated for money laundering at that time, had alleged that Silva accepted bribes in exchange for awarding public work contracts with Castillo’s authorization. Castillo has denied the charges, adding that he and his administration were being politically persecuted by the prosecutor’s office and the judiciary, whom he alleged are controlled by the conservative oligarchy.
Since Castillo’s ouster, thousands of citizens have been mobilizing to demand radical political changes. These include Castillo’s immediate release, his successor Dina Boluarte’s resignation, advancing the elections, and a referendum on a constituent assembly.
The Boluarte government has responded with brutal repression leading to at least 60 deaths and has left more than 1,200 people injured in Peru.