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Former Peru President Pedro Castillo jailed for 18 months in pretrial detention

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Peru's Supreme Court has ordered former president Pedro Castillo held for 18 months in pre-trial detention. He was impeached and arrested charged with rebellion after attempting to dissolve congress, triggering national protests. Pictured are police facing demonstrators in Arequipa, Peru, on Monday. Photo by Jose Sotomayor/EPA-EFE

Peru’s Supreme Court has ordered former president Pedro Castillo held for 18 months in pre-trial detention. He was impeached and arrested charged with rebellion after attempting to dissolve congress, triggering national protests. Pictured are police facing demonstrators in Arequipa, Peru, on Monday. Photo by Jose Sotomayor/EPA-EFE

Dec. 16 (UPI) — Peru’s Supreme Court has ordered Former Peru President Pedro Castillo held in pretrial detention for 18 months. Castillo was impeached and arrested hours after he tried to dissolve Peru’s congress, triggering deadly national protests.

Castillo maintains he did not “commit the crime of conspiracy or rebellion.”

At least 15 people have died in the protests, with seven people killed and 52 injured Thursday in Peru’s southern Andes area, according to the Ayacucho health authority.

Ayacucho’s regional government said in a statement that it is demanding “the immediate cessation of the use of firearms … against our people.”

New Peruvian President Dina Boluarte’s government declared a state of emergency Wednesday in an effort to deal with the protests.

“Neither violence nor radicalism will put an end to a legal and legitimate government,” Boluarte said Thursday. “There is no room for fear, but for courage, unity and the hope of a country that deserves more from its politicians.”

Pro-Castillo protesters are now calling their demonstrations a national insurgency.

“Peru has declared ourselves in a state of insurgency, a national insurgency, because we do not owe obedience to a usurping government,” one protester in Lima said Thursday.

As many as 1,000 protesters have camped near a detention center in Lima demanding former president Castillo’s release.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Peru said in a statement, “We express our serious concern about the increase in violence in Peru and we deeply regret the death of 15 people.”

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