Ollanta Humala and Nadine Heredia jailed

16 July 2017

In a bold and unprecedented move on13 July, the public prosecutor’s office demanded the imprisonment of the former president and first lady to prevent the possibility of them fleeing the country. The following day they were both taken into custody for a maximum period of 18 months, and are now in prison. Humala is in the same penitentiary as former president Alberto Fujimori; Heredia is in the women’s prison in Chorrillos. Although there is no formal charge against them, they are believed to have received money improperly from Odebrecht to fund their 2011 election campaign.

There is widespread concern that the judge in the case overstepped the mark in that there was little to indicate that they were preparing to leave the country. They had so far respected judicial requests for them to turn up to hearings. Their case contrasts with that of Alejandro Toledo who faces more serious charges but has refused to return to Peru from the United States where he currently resides. Humala tweeted on his way to jail that this represented proof of the abuse of judicial power.

Although Humala is blamed for other misdemeanours, the money he received from Odebrecht is the crux of the matter. In the past weeks, Marcelo Odebrecht has declared in Curitiba that he had been asked by President Lula and the PT to extend financing to Humala, even though he had preferred to give money to Keiko Fujimori and to the APRA party instead. Humala had begun the campaign as a rank outsider. In spite of this, only Humala and Heredia have been investigated and charged.

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