LIMA – The Constitutional Court of Peru said on Tuesday that it will defer until April 26 its ruling on the motions filed by former President Ollanta Humala and his wife Nadine Heredia to obtain their release from prison, while authorities investigate claims they accepted illegal campaign contributions.
Outside the Constitutional Court, dozens of Humala’s supporters gathered to demand his and Heredia’s release, who have been in pre-trial detention for close to nine months.
Humala, who governed from 2011-2016, and his wife were arrested in July 2017 for allegedly receiving illegal campaign contributions from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.
The habeas corpus motions “do not seek to end the investigation but rather to allow their release while they confront the charges brought against them,” a former lawmaker from Humala’s Nationalist party, Santiago Gastañadui, told Canal N, a cable news network.
Gastañadui said that the Peruvian justice system could not maintain “a double standard” and keep the former president and his wife in jail without being sentenced.
Many legal analysts have noted that while flight risk is usually the reason for imposing pre-trial detention, the possibility that Humala and Heredia may seek to escape justice is close to zero.
Heredia, who had left Peru for Switzerland to accept a senior position with a UN agency, resigned from the job and came back when ordered to do so by a judge.