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Court Grants Bail to Ex-Peruvian President Challenging Extradition Due to Solitary Confinement

by Dale Chappell

On October 10, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco granted bail to former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, requiring him to be released on a $1 million bond under home confinement and electronic monitoring.

The 73-year-old Toledo had been held in solitary confinement at the Santa Rita Jail for the previous three months following his July 2019 arrest, awaiting his fate as to whether the United States will extradite him back to Peru to face bribery charges. He is accused of receiving $20 million in bribes from a Brazilian construction company.

At first, Toledo was denied bail by a magistrate judge who said he was too great of a flight risk. When his lawyers appealed that decision to the district judge, the court held a hearing and overturned the magistrate’s ruling.

Chhabria found that Toledo’s three months in solitary, where he was allowed out of his cell just one hour every two days, “initiated a marked decline in [his] mental health,” according to a psychiatrist’s report. The judge also said that not having been convicted of a crime, there were “serious due process concerns” with keeping someone locked up under such conditions.

The court noted that Toledo’s detention was likely to last for many more months or even years, as the U.S. and Peru are not in agreement on what to do with the ex-president. The combination of those factors led Judge Chhabria to order Toledo’s release pending the outcome of his extradition.

However, the government fought to keep him locked up, arguing the judge had no authority to get involved in how the jail kept Toledo in custody. While the court agreed, it said the “hardship of detention is one factor among many that can justify release.”

Yet Toledo wasn’t free to walk out of jail just yet. The government can file an appeal, and the court stayed its order during the time allotted to do so. It also gave the government the option to find an “alternative” to solitary confinement to keep Toledo in jail, while reiterating that he was not a flight risk and has close ties to the San Francisco Bay area. See: In re Extradition of Toledo, U.S.D.C. (N.D. Cal.), Case No. 3:19-mj-71055-MAG. 


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Related legal case

In re Extradition of Toledo