Costa Rica’s Supreme Court condemns prisoner torture allegations
Costa Rica’s troubled prisons got dealt another black eye on Wednesday.
The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, known as the Sala IV, revealed that over 30 prisoners incarcerated in the maximum-security wing of La Reforma Prison, north of the capital, claimed to have been beaten and mistreated by penitentiary guards. A statement from the Sala IV said the complaints demonstrated a pattern of abuse during a short period of time.
The daily La Nación reported that the prisoners accused guards of beating and kicking them, and using chemical gas on their eyes, mouths and genitals. Some accused guards of forcing fingers into prisoners’ anuses.
The Sala IV ordered the Justice Ministry, which oversees Costa Rica’s prison system, to present a plan to address the alleged human rights abuses within three months.
Last February, ex-President Laura Chinchilla signed a law implementing the United Nations’ Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. The law established a mechanism within the Ombudsman’s Office to review and recommend improvements for prison conditions.
The Sala IV ordered the Justice Ministry to involve the anti-torture unit in its review of the complaints at the prison.
Aside from the recent allegations of mistreatment at prisons, overcrowding remains one of the biggest challenges facing the penitentiary system. Spikes in incarceration have swelled Costa Rica’s prison rolls. Chinchilla said prisons were 38 percent over capacity in her last speech as president to the Legislative Assembly in May.
You may be interested
Costa Rica unemployment rate drops to 19%The Tico Times - March 4, 2021
Unemployment in Costa Rica fell to 19.1% in the moving quarter from November to January. This maintained a downward trend…
Throwback Thursday: 2006 Arenal Volcano lava flowsThe Tico Times - March 4, 2021
Arenal Volcano's July 1968 eruption destroyed three small villages, killed 87 people and wiped out 232 square kilometers of crops…
MOPT warns of higher traffic accidents as measures are easedAlejandro Zúñiga - March 4, 2021
The Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) is reminding drivers to follow the rules of the road when traveling this…