Bolivia’s ex-prez goes on trial in absentia on “genocide” charges

The Bolivian Supreme Court of Justice opened the trial of former president Gonzalo S├ínchez de Lozada May 18 in connection with the deaths of 63 protesters in October 2003. Sanchez de Lozada and 17 other former government officials face “genocide” charges related to the repression, for which he faces 30 years in prison if convicted. Nine of the defendants were tried in absentia, including Sanchez de Lozada, who fled to the US after resigning from office in 2003. Warrants were issued for the missing defendants after they were found to be in contempt of court. Some 200 relatives of the dead gathered in hot sunshine outside the Supreme Court in the city of Sucre to demand justice. (Jurist, May 19; BBC News, May 18)

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