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Bolivia ex-military chief arrested for corruption

Bolivian authorities on Monday arrested a former chief of the country's armed forces on corruption charges. Prosecutor Harry Suaznabar charged [Los Tiempos report, in Spanish] General Alvin Kippes with illicit enrichment, dereliction of duty and abuse of influence, all punishable under the country's penal code. Kippes will be held in detention due to risks of information leaks and obstructing the investigation. He is accused of directing earmarked money in the amount of between 170 to 235 million Bolivian bolivianos (USD $24 to $33 million) into his personal account.

Bolivia has been very strict in prosecuting state officials for various crimes. Last year Bolivia's Supreme Court of Justice [official website, in Spanish] convicted [JURIST report] seven officials—five military officers and two former cabinet ministers—of committing genocide. The military officials received sentences of 10 to 15 years while the former cabinet ministers received three-year sentences for complicity in the murders. They were prohibited from appealing the decision. The case for the genocide began in 2009 [JURIST report] when the court initiated the trial against former president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. Bolivian officials requested extradition [JURIST report] of Sanchez de Lozada and two other defendants from the US to face trial under a 1995 extradition treaty.

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