Lima, Feb 18 – Amid continued protests against the incumbent government, Peru’s Congress has approved the constitutional complaint against former president Pedro Castillo and two former ministers for the alleged crimes of criminal organisation, influence peddling and collusion.
After more than four hours of debate, Congress on late Friday decided to approve the final report with 59 votes in favour, 23 against and three abstentions, reports Xinhua news agency.
This will allow Attorney General Patricia Benavides, who filed the complaint in October 2022, to formaliSe the investigation and initiate criminal proceedings against Castillo.
In the same session, the final reports recommending the indictment of former transportation and communication minister Juan Silva Meza and housing, construction and sanitation minister Geiner Alvarado Lopez for alleged criminal organization were also approved.
During the session, Castillo’s lawyer Eduardo Pachas participated virtually and reiterated that the former President denies corruption and criminal organisation charges, requesting that he be allowed to present his defence in person.
The former president is being held in preventive detention for 18 months in the Barbadillo prison in Lima, while he is investigated for alleged “rebellion” after attempting to dissolve Congress on December 7, 2022.
Meanwhile, protests calling to free Castillo continue in the capital, Lima, and other regions in the south.
Since the start of the crisis, 60 people have been killed in clashes between the security forces and demonstrators, according to the office of Peru’s ombudsman.
President Dina Boluarte has tried to convince Congress to give in to protesters’ demands for elections to be held even earlier but the deeply divided legislative body has so far refused.
With neither proposal adopted, the elections are currently scheduled for the original date in July 2026.
Meanwhile, anger on the streets has been growing with many demanding the immediate resignation of Boluarte and fresh elections for president and Congress this year.
Some have also demanded for a constitutional reform.