Bolivian general accused of failed coup is transferred to a maximum-security prison

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — The Bolivian general accused of leading a failed coup was sent Saturday to a maximum-security prison as he faces charges of terrorism and starting an armed uprising.

“At some point the truth will be known,” a handcuffed Gen. Juan José Zúñiga told journalists as he was escorted by two guards to the vehicle that will take him to the Chonchocoro maximum-security prison on the outskirts of La Paz.

“The rest are innocent. The are innocent people,” he added. Two other former military chiefs, including former navy Vice Adm. Juan Arnez Salvador, were also taken to the same prison.

Zúñiga, who was arrested Wednesday after the rebellion, said before being taken into custody, without providing evidence, that President Luis Arce ordered him to carry out the rebellion — something that the Bolivian leader and his government have vigorously denied.

Arce told the AP on Friday that Zúñiga planned to “take over” the government and become president, and he denied once again that Wednesday’s attack on the government palace was a “self-coup” designed to garner him political points.

Authorities have arrested 21 people, including Zúñiga, who were in custody in police facilities in La Paz. All of them face charges of armed uprising and terrorism.

Fourteen of the detainees appeared on Saturday before a judge.

Families of some of the detainees said Friday that they knew nothing of a plot, and some say that their loved ones were simply “following orders” or told they were carrying out a “military exercise.”