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Accused Ex-President Wins One, Loses One

December 22, 2006

The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV) last week ruled in favor of ex-President Miguel Angel Rodríguez (1998-2002), who had filed a suit against former Public Security Minister Rogelio Ramos and Chief Prosecutor Francisco Dall’Anese.

The court declared that the authorities in question had violated Rodríguez’s rights by giving journalists access to the airport runway where the former head of state was arrested in October 2004 upon his return from the United States.

However, the court also discarded another suit filed by Rodríguez, claiming that the Prosecutor’s Office had allowed information about his case to be filtered to the press. Dall’Anese and Supreme Court President Luis Paulino Mora were named in the suit, according to the daily La Nación.

Rodríguez also alleged in the suit that La Nación, the daily Al Día, and Channel 7 TV News had created a “parallel trial” that could influence the result of the legal proceedings against him, an argument he also made in his recent book “Di la Cara: Una Batalla por el Estado de Derecho” (“I Showed My Face: A Battle for the State of Law”), released in September (TT, Sept. 22).

The ex-President, who resigned as Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) and returned to Costa Rica in 2004 to face the charges against him, is accused of accepting kickbacks related to a multinational telecom firm’s contract with the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) during his presidency.

The Public Security Ministry allowed photographers onto the tarmac at JuanSantamaríaInternationalAirport, west of San José, when Rodríguez arrived, even setting up a platform so the cameras could capture his image as he was led off the plane in handcuffs (TT, Oct. 22, 2004).

He was released from preventive detention approximately one year later, though investigation of the allegations against him is still under way.

 

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