The then Peru's President Pedro Castillo gestures during a press conference with his Chilean counterpart Gabriel Boric (not in photograph) at La Moneda presidential palace in Santiago during his visit to Chile on Nov 29, 2022. (PHOTO / AFP)
A judge in Peru extended ex-President Pedro Castillo's pre-trial detention term to 36 months, up from 18 months, on Thursday, following the former leader's ouster and jailing for illegally attempting to dissolve Congress in December.
The three-year detention ruling is related to accusations of organized crime, influence peddling and being an accomplice to collusion committed during Castillo's turbulent 17-month stint in office.
Castillo's former housing minister, Geiner Alvarado, who also served as transportation chief after Silva's exit, will remain free for the moment, the court ruled
The tenure of the outsider leftist president was marked by unprecedented turnover among senior ministers and near-constant infighting with a Congress dominated by conservative lawmakers.
READ MORE: Peru Congress moves to allow graft raps of ex-President Castillo
"I emphatically, and categorically, deny being the leader or part of a criminal network," Castillo said in a virtual hearing.
The court also handed down three years of pre-trial detention to Juan Silva, Castillo's former transportation minister, who has been on the run since last year.
Castillo's former housing minister, Geiner Alvarado, who also served as transportation chief after Silva's exit, will remain free for the moment, the court ruled. Prosecutors said they would appeal that ruling.
The former president and his two ministers are accused of involvement in a bribery scheme related to the construction of a bridge, as well as in the purchase of fuel for state-owned oil company Petroperu.
READ MORE: Peru court upholds 18 months of pre-trial detention for Castillo
Castillo also remains under investigation for charges of rebellion and conspiracy in relation to the events leading up to his Dec 7 ouster.
Since then, nationwide protests have broken out, leaving dozens dead and hundreds injured.
The demands of protesters include Castillo's release from jail, the resignation of his successor, President Dina Boluarte, as well as snap elections and the drafting of a new constitution.