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  HOME | Bolivia

Main Suspect in Bolivian Deputy Ministerís Murder Jailed

LA PAZ Ė A Bolivian court has sent miner Angel Aparaya, the main suspect in the bludgeoning murder of Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Rodolfo Illanes, to prison, an official with the La Paz Attorney Generalís Office confirmed to EFE.

As a result of a court hearing in the city of El Alto, the miner will be moved from preventive detention in the Chonchocoro prison near La Paz to a maximum security prison.

The Public Ministry filed charges against Aparaya on Wednesday for murder, possession of explosives, attacking security personnel and aggravated robbery.

The 25-year-old defendant had remained in hiding in the Viloco mining district, where last Thursday police tried unsuccessfully to arrest him in a violent night raid, local residents said.

Despite proclaiming his innocence, the miner on Wednesday finally came to the La Paz Attorney Generalís Office with the mediation of Ombudsman David Tezanos.

Illanes was kidnapped, tortured and beaten to death on Aug. 25 by the miners of cooperatives who blocked a highway 180 kilometers (112 miles) from La Paz and with whom the authorities had tried to negotiate an end to their protests.

The conflict also resulted in the deaths of four miners from gunshot wounds suffered during police operations to clear the highways, and a fifth miner died when he mishandled explosives.

Bolivian authorities and the AGís Office say that Aparaya is the main suspect in Illanesís murder because one of the miners who had died during the conflict was his cousin and he allegedly acted to avenge his relativeís death.

The AGís Office said that the miner should be held under preventive detention due to the risk he might flee or alter evidence in the case.

Aparaya is the 13th person to be indicted for Illanesís murder, although at present nobody is facing charges in the deaths of the four miners, who were among those protesting a legal reform permitting the unionization of their cooperatives.

 

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