Bolivian ex-ministers seek asylum

LIMA: Three ministers who served under exiled former Bolivian president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada have sought asylum in Peru, according to Lima's foreign minister.

Jose Antonio Garcia Belaunde said one Bolivian minister had been granted asylum and two other applications were under consideration. He did not give the applicants' names.

The former ministers left Bolivia after the judiciary there announced proceedings would be launched against them starting May 18.

They are accused of aiding the killing of 65 people, carried out by military and police forces seeking to crush a popular rebellion against the government in October 2003.

The riots ousted Bolivian president Sanchez de Lozada, who has since lived in exile in the United States.

Over 500 people were also wounded in the violence.

Officials in La Paz said four former ministers had fled the country: Mirtha Quevedo, ex-minister for popular participation; Victor Hugo, education; Guido Anez, agriculture; and Yerko Kukoc, interior.

Peru's Foreign Affairs Ministry did not identify who had asked for asylum but said Kukoc was not among them.

Quevedo confirmed to a Bolivian television station that she was in Lima while awaiting "guarantees for a fair trial" in Bolivia.

All four worked for Sanchez de Lozada, 78, who served two terms as president of Bolivia, from 1993-1997 and 2002-2003.

He has been charged in Peru with genocide as well as for embezzling public funds.

In late 2008, Bolivia submitted a request for his extradition from the United States.