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Paraguay Congress removes president from office after impeachment trial

Paraguay's Congress on Friday removed president Fernando Lugo from office after it found him guilty of mishandling armed clashes that took place last week during which 17 police and farmers were killed. The lower house of Congress voted 76-1 on Thursday to impeach Lugo, while the Senate [official website, in Spanish] made the decision to remove him from office [AP report] the next day in a 39-4 vote. Vice President Federico Franco was sworn into office [Bloomberg report] immediately after Lugo was removed, as the country's constitution requires. Lugo gave a statement after his removal, comparing the short impeachment trial to a coup, but promised to accept the decision and urged his supporters to remain peaceful. The quickness with which the impeachment trial was conducted concerned leaders of other nations, as some foreign ministers traveled to Paraguay and warned of possible sanctions if Lugo was removed from office.

Other countries have recently ousted their leaders as well. Earlier this month, an Egyptian court found former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak guilty of complicity to kill protesters [JURIST report] during the Arab Spring protests and sentenced him to life in prison. In January, the Yemeni parliament approved a bill granting immunity [JURIST report] to President Ali Abdullah Saleh in exchange for him stepping down. Last year, Libyan opposition forces captured and killed former leader Muammar Gaddafi [JURIST report] in his hometown of Sirte.

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