Wednesday 6 December 2023

Freedom: Mayors accused of corruption leave jail

The release was because the prosecutor's office did not request remand; a hearing on precautionary measures will be held Thursday afternoon

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QCOSTARICA – The six mayors accused of corruption in the “Diamante” case left the judicial cells Wednesday afternoon, released after the Criminal Court of Finance and Public Function learned that the Fiscalía General (General Prosecutor’s Office) had not requested preventive detention (remand) as a precautionary measure.

Johnny Araya, mayor of San José, was second lastr to leave the judicial cells. (Alber Marín)

The mayors, Johnny Araya (San Jose), Mario Redondo (Cartago), Alfredo Córdoba (San Carlos), Humberto Soto (Alajuela), Arnoldo Barahona (Escazú) and Alberto Cole (Osa) left the criminal courts building in Goigoechea Wednesday afternoon after spending two nights in the OIJ cells.

Alfredo Córdoba, mayor of San Carlos, said through tears that he is innocent. (Alber Marín)

The Fiscalaia asked the court for precautionary measures on the six to include an eight month suspension, surrender their passport, meaning they cannot leave the country (impedimento de salida in Spanish) and not have contact with witnesses in the case.

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The hearing in which these precautionary measures will be imposed is scheduled for 3:00 pm this Thursday.

Humberto Soto, mayor of Alajuela accompanied by his lawyer(Alber Marín)

The lawyers of the mayors pointed out to the judge in charge of the hearing that it made no sense to keep them in the judicial cells if the Prosecutor’s office had not requested preventive detention.

Alberto Cole, mayor of Osa, said he is sure that he and his counterparts will be proven innocent. (Alber Marín)

“It does not make sense that they are in the condition of detainees, added to the expenditure of resources, I do not know, 20 or 30 prison officials, escorting the detainees and all the logistics that this means,” said Federico Campos, the lawyer for Johnny Araya, to

Mario Redondo, mayor of Cartago, is represented by a public defender. (Alber Marín)

Leaving the jail cells exit from the court building, San Jose mayor Johnny Araya, spoke briefly with his lawyer Alfonso Ruiz Ugalde, and after walking a few meters, said that he would not give any statements related to the case.

Arnoldo Barahona, mayor of Escazu, was the first to leave judicial cells. (Alber Marín)

He added that “as always I have shown my face and I will continue to give it.” Later in the day, he reiterated his position of not providing a public statement on the case, other than saying, “I am innocent, I have my arguments, my reasoning (…). I am totally convinced that there is a mistake”.

The other five took similar positions, a few words to the press awaiting outside the jailhouse gates, but nothing substantial.

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