A Bunk Bed With Striped Linen Behind Bars
A Bunk Bed With Striped Linen Behind Bars RDNE Stock project/Pexels.com

Former Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina has been released from prison after eight years, but he can't leave the country as he needs to check in with the prosecutors every month, his lawyer has said.

César Calderón, Molina's lawyer, said the former president - who was convicted of fraud and conspiracy - was released Wednesday night after he posted a bond of $1.3 million. However, he won't be able to leave Guatemala.

In December 2022, Molina was convicted in a bribery scheme (also known as La Linea, or The Line) and the court sentenced him to 16 years in prison.

The ex-president appealed under Guatemala's multi-step sentencing process. Since the sentence is yet to be confirmed, he is eligible to post a bond and step out of prison.

"We filed this alternative measure that had already been granted beforehand," Calderón said, AP News reported.

Molina was also sentenced to eight years in prison last September after he pleaded guilty to fraud, money laundering and bribery in a separate case, which happened during his administration.

However, he didn't go to prison for the case as the judge ruled the punishment can be commuted by making a payment, which Molina did in November.

Molina, who became president in 2012, resigned in 2015 following massive protests against him over corruption. Former vice president Roxana Baldetti, who worked under Molina's administration, was also convicted on corruption charges.

Molina and Baldetti were involved in permitting and benefiting from the customs graft scheme. They allowed the businesses to evade import duties in exchange for bribes, resulting in a loss of $2 million to the government.

Guatemala's President-elect Bernardo Arevalo, who won the recently-concluded presidential elections by an overwhelming margin, will take charge on Jan. 14. There are allegations that Attorney General María Consuelo Porras is trying to disqualify Arevalo's party to stop him from taking office.

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