Suspected leaders of failed Bolivian coup remanded in six-month custody

Three former high-ranking military officers accused of leading a failed coup in Bolivia earlier this week face up to 20 years in prison on charges of armed uprising and terrorism, the nation’s top prosecutor said Friday. The officers will be detained in a high-security prison outside the capital La Paz until the trial.

Three suspected leaders of an attempted coup against Bolivian President Luis Arce were placed in custody on Friday for six months, the nation's top prosecutor said.

Former army chief Juan Jose Zuniga, former head of navy Juan Arnez and Alejandro Irahola, former head of the army's mechanized brigade, will be held in a high-security prison not far from the capital La Paz.

"This pre-trial detention ordered by the judge will undoubtedly set a precedent, and is a good signal for the investigation to move forward," said Attorney General Cesar Siles.

The three officers face charges of engaging in an armed uprising and terrorism and face up to 20 years in prison, Siles said on state television.

A total of 21 active, retired and civilian military personnel were arrested in connection with Wednesday's attempted coup, in which troops and tanks were deployed in the heart of the capital, where they tried to break down a door of the presidential palace.

In an unusual twist, Zuniga claimed he was following Arce's orders and that the president had hoped for the coup to trigger a crackdown that would boost his popularity.


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