Monday 8 March 2021

Constitutional Court: detained can remain a maximum of 72 hours in OIJ cells

QCOSTARICA – The magistrates of the Constitutional Court reiterated this Tuesday that detainees can only stay a maximum of 72 hours (three days) in the cells of the Organismo de Investigation Judicial (OIJ).

On December 23, the OIJ reported that 204 people remained in the judicial cells, of which many have already exceeded the maximum three days of permanence. File photo

The resolution was one of those issued during the last session of this year, in which a total of 316 appeals for habeas corpus were reviewed.

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“Among the cases declared admissible, there are files referring to persons detained for an excessive period in the cells of the OIJ, due to the delay in being relocated to various penitentiary centers, as well as protected persons in need of urgent medical attention to protect their constitutional rights to detention, health and life,” specified the Constitutional Court in a press release.

Last August 14, the magistrates ordered the Minister of Justice, Fiorella Salazar Rojas, and the Directorate of Social Adaptation to take all the measures that are within the scope of their competences and to coordinate what is pertinent to each other ”to prevent those apprehended from spending excessive time in judicial cells”.

That resolution came after the director of the OIJ, Walter Espinoza Espinoza, filed a writ of habeas corpus in favor of a man who was forced to remain in the OIJ cells for eight days due to the inability to transfer him to a prison.

According to this vote, the cells of the OIJ do not meet the basic conditions for a person to have a prolonged stay, which is why it was considered that this “flagrantly violates fundamental rights and human dignity.”

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The decision comes six days after Espinoza expressed his concern about the saturation of the judicial cells and affirmed that the Ministry of Justice remains “indolent and passive.”

As part of the data provided, he said that as of December 23, there were 204 people in the OIJ cells and stressed that four of those inmates had been locked up there for 37 days and four others had 33 days, 10 were there for 19 days, twenty reached 14 days and another 14 to 13 days.

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FACT CHECK:
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Q Costa Rica
Reports by QCR staff

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