Lima, Nov 17 (IANS) Peru’s Attorney General Zoraida Avalos said her office has launched a preliminary probe into former President Manuel Merino on possible murder charges, following the violent deaths of two protesters over the weekend.
Merino, who was appointed on November 17 a day after former President Martin Vizcarra’s impeachment, resigned on Sunday amid widespread protests that broke out across the country, reports Xinhua news agency.
In a video posted on social media, Avalos on Monday said that top Merino aides were also under investigation, including his now former Prime Minister, Antero Flores-Araoz, and his former Interior Minister Gaston Rodriguez.
“My office has decided to initiate a preliminary investigation against Manuel Merino de Lama, Antero Flores-Araoz, and Gaston Rodriguez for the alleged crimes of abuse of authority, as well as intentional homicide against Jordan Inti Sotelo Camargo and Jack Bryan Pintado Sanchez,” she said.
Investigators will rely on “information extracted from the security cameras of the areas where the events occurred, and the expert reports of the crime scene”, she said, adding: “I can assure you that these deaths will not remain unpunished.”
The country-wide demonstrations, which also left at least 112 people injured while 41 others were still missing, pressured Merino into leaving office on Sunday.
Peru’s Congress on Monday elected Francisco Rafael Sagasti as the new interim leader amid the political turmoil.
According to the country’s Constitution, Sagasti will serve as the President until July 28, 2021.
His successor will be decided following the presidential election due in April next year.