Former Peruvian president Alan Garcia attempted suicide during a detention in a corruption case, he died in hospital on Wednesday. The experts explained that Garcia could have been frightened by the impending detention. They discussed the practice of pre-trial detention in Peru, as writes Fox News.
On Thursday, after the news of García’s death, Peru’s mass media discussed how criminal cases are being conducted in the country and whether fighting the corruption is worth of human life.
The largest bribery case in Latin America features all the presidents of the country, except for the current president, Martin Vizcarra. During the investigation, Brazilian corporation Odebrecht admitted that it had distributed almost $ 800 million to Peru’s politicians in exchange for lucrative contracts. Alan Garcia was among the suspects in this case.
In Latin America, even prisoners accused of minor crimes are often held in custody for several months or years before the court issues a charge. Former presidents are in a similar situation. Human rights activists have been struggling with this problem for years.
In the country, where corruption remained unpunished for a long time, prosecutors began imprisoning famous politicians before being charged with them. According to Peruvian law, persons suspected of criminal activity, sentenced to imprisonment for more than four years, may be detained if the probability of their escape from the country is proved or they may interfere with the investigation. Of all the former presidents of Peru, who were arrested in the «Odebrecht» bribery case, Garcia’s detention may have been the most obvious. Four months ago, he tried to get asylum at the embassy of Uruguay, but his application was rejected. Perhaps that is why law enforcement agencies have suggested that he might try to escape, according to lawyers polled by Fox News. However, some experts believe the escape of an elderly president is doubtful.
– He’s 80 years old, – said lawyer Carlos Caro, – Where will he go?
Garcia ruled Peru in two presidential terms, the opinion about him was ambiguous: lot of Peruvians loved him, lot of them hated him, reports the publication. Peru’s prosecutor’s office suspects the ex-president of taking bribes from the Odebrecht during the construction of the underground in Lima. The former president has repeatedly declared his innocence.
In 2017, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights expressed concern about Peru’s policy, which provides for pretrial detention of up to 36 months for officials suspected of corruption and organized crime. Previously, they were allowed to be detained for up to 18 months, as law professor Ernesto de la Hara explained to Fox News. The study showed that in Latin America, on average, 36 percent of people in prisons are held in pre-trial detention. In the case of Peru, de la Hara said that about half of all prisoners were in pre-trial detention.