Bolivia charges three miners over minister′s death | News | DW | 28.08.2016
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Bolivia charges three miners over minister's death

Bolivia has formally charged three people with murdering a top official during a miners' strike. The three defendants include the head of a mining federation and his close associates.

Authorities held a state funeral for deputy interior minister Rodolfo Illanes in La Paz on Sunday. Illanes was kidnapped and killed this week, after he tried to negotiate with miners blocking the roads across the country.

An autopsy found the 56-year-old died from trauma to the brain and thorax.

The government detained over 40 protesters over the incident. On Saturday afternoon, Bolivia's public prosecutor accused protest leader Carlos Mamani of Illanes' murder, alongside two other officials in Mamani's mining federation.

Mamani also faces charges of aggravated robbery, criminal organization, possession of firearms and attacking members of state security.

Bolivien Bergleute zum Verhör

Dozens of protesters were detained over Illanes' death

Bolivian authorities said they would demand a maximum 30-year jail sentence.

Government officials ruled out further talks with the miners, who protested over union laws and the worsening financial situation in the industry. The road blocks have also been lifted after strikers returned to the camps.

Miners want to 'take down the government'

Illanes, a long time ally of the country's left-wing president, Evo Morales, was only appointed to the deputy minister position in March.

Commenting on his death, Morales said the miners' protest was a "political conspiracy" to topple his administration, with the opposition backing the strike.

"Now we are getting information and finding documents that say this is to take down the government," he told a news conference.

The opposition denied the accusations and said the protests were sparked by the economic crisis in the country.

"Morales would do well to be critical of himself and set aside false conspiracy theories blaming the right wing and the media," former President Jorge Quiroga said.

dj/jlw (AP, Reuters)