LA PAZ – A Bolivian judge released indigenous leader Adolfo Chavez, an opponent of President Evo Morales, after he was held for 48 hours in jail accused of an alleged act of corruption, his attorney said Sunday.
Lawyer Otto Richter confirmed to the media that Judge Romy Peredo in the eastern city of Santa Cruz, ruled on Saturday night that Chavez should be freed after nullifying motions filed by prosecutors which she said did not grant the Indian the right to have his statement taken in his mother tongue, which is Tacana and not Spanish
Chavez, who also speaks Spanish, was arrested about midnight on Thursday after he appeared to give a statement to the Special Force to Fight Crime, or FELCC, in Santa Cruz.
Chavez is one of the indigenous leaders who withdrew his support from Morales when the president in 2011 planned to build a controversial highway crossing the Isiboro Secure National Indian Territory, a key nature preserve.
Chavez headed two indigenous marches in 2011 and 2012 from the Amazon region to La Paz to demand that Morales halt the project, although it remains on the government’s books.
Chavez was accused of embezzling some $65,000 in funds that the Fondioc Indian development fund authorized to another Indian organization known as Cidob when he headed it.
The indigenous leader, meanwhile, has denied all the charges against him.