Peru’s prosecution office on Friday requested a 34-year prison sentence for former president Pedro Castillo, accused of rebellion over his failed bid to dissolve Congress and “carrying out a coup d’etat.”
The leftist Castillo was arrested in December 2022 after he tried to disband Congress and rule by decree, sparking months of deadly protests.
The public prosecution office wrote on social media that it was seeking a stiff jail term against Castillo for “crimes of rebellion, abuse of authority and serious disturbance of public peace.”
In the request presented to the court, Castillo is accused of “carrying out a coup d’etat.”
When he was elected in 2012, Castillo was the first leader of the Andean nation with no ties to the elites, and was hailed as the country’s first poor president.
Born in a tiny village where he worked as a teacher for 24 years, he surged to prominence leading a national strike.
Once elected president, he became locked in a power struggle with the opposition-led Congress, and was accused by the attorney general of heading a criminal organization involving his family and allies that handed out public contracts in exchange for money.
The 54-year-old has maintained he was the victim of a political conspiracy between the right-wing opposition and the attorney general.
“I never took up arms,” he has told court hearings since his arrest.
Castillo was replaced by his vice-president Dina Boluarte, who faced protests and demands she step down and hold an early election.
An ensuing crackdown by security forces left almost 50 people dead, according to an estimate by Human Rights Watch, which accused the authorities of extrajudicial and arbitrary killings.
Boluarte is facing a probe over the deaths of the protesters, although she enjoys immunity until her term ends in 2026.