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Prison cell or ankle bracelet? How countries imprison former leaders



Prison cell or ankle bracelet?  How countries imprison former leaders

If the jury in Donald Trump’s criminal hush-money trial finds him guilty, the US could face an unprecedented outcome: a prison sentence for a former president who is one of the most divisive people in the world.

That would force authorities to consider whether Trump, who is entitled to lifelong protection from the US Secret Service, can safely serve his time behind bars or whether alternative arrangements should be made.

It’s a mystery that other countries have had to deal with.


The South American country, wracked by years of unrest, has jailed so many presidents that it created a police academy to house them.

The facility on the outskirts of Lima currently houses two ex-presidents: Alejandro Toledo, who is awaiting trial on corruption charges, and Pedro Castillo, who is accused of rebellion after attempting to dissolve Congress in late 2022.

Another former president, Alberto Fujimori, was released in December 2023. He was pardoned after serving 16 years of a 25-year prison sentence for human rights abuses. He spent his time behind bars gardening and painting.

Ollanta Humala, another former president, spent nine months in pre-trial detention on corruption charges before being released on the condition that he report regularly to court.

According to local media, the special prison contains three apartment-like cells with outdoor terraces.

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, another former president, is not being held there: he has been under house arrest since 2019 while under investigation on corruption charges.


The country’s only female president, Park Geun-hye, appears to have received no special treatment after she was convicted of corruption in 2018.

Park spent her time in a single cell in the Seoul Detention Center, where she was subject to the same rules and given the same food as other prisoners. She was allowed to watch television during the day, but only one channel was approved by the authorities.

She served nearly five years of a 20-year prison sentence before being pardoned in December 2021.

Park’s predecessor, Lee Myung-bak, was also jailed on corruption charges. Two other presidents, Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo, were convicted of treason and corruption in the 1990s.


Brazil’s current leader, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, spent more than a year in prison after being convicted of corruption following his first stint as president from 2003 to 2010.

Allies say his time in a 15-square-meter cell on the third floor of the federal police headquarters in Curitiba has given the left-wing politician a renewed sense of social justice.

He has read books about race, slavery and hunger, he said. Lula’s 2018 conviction was overturned the following year and he was re-elected in 2022.

He defeated far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro, who is under investigation for allegedly plotting a coup after his loss.


Former President Nicolas Sarkozy has been sentenced to prison in two separate cases for campaign finance violations and bribing a judge. Judges have ruled he can serve both sentences by wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet instead of going to prison.

Sarkozy, who served as president from 2007 to 2012, remains free while he appeals both cases to the country’s highest court.

His predecessor, Jacques Chirac, was given a two-year suspended sentence after being found guilty of corruption in 2011.

If Sarkozy’s convictions are upheld, his incarceration would allow him to stay closer to home than any other notable French leader.

After conquering much of Europe, Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte suffered a series of military defeats and was exiled to the island of Elba in the Mediterranean in 1814. Less than a year later he escaped, took back control of France and was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo.

This time he was exiled to the South Atlantic island of Saint Helena, where he was guarded by 2,100 British soldiers and ten ships until he died six years later.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)