Friday 8 December 2023

Legislators propose limiting prison benefits and more agile processes to seize money from drug traffickers

The drug war between traffickers has resulted in 790 homicides so far this 2023

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QCOSTARICA — Limiting or revoking the prison benefits, strengthening flagrante delicto courts, having better tools to seize illicit money from drug traffickers, and preventing violence against minors are among the initiatives proposed by legislators to stop the wave of homicides that is shaking the country.

The opposition, though not against the proposals themselves, have expressed concern about approving a handful of projects in a rush. The opposition argues that a deep analysis is required, acting calmly and away from the heat of the moment.

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The opposition legislators consider that the “strong hand” proposals presented by Costa Rica President Rodrigo Chaves could violate human rights or have other illegalities.

“The PUSC faction has not wanted to legislate in the heat of the moment, we have done our homework, we have analyzed bills and we would not agree to validate initiatives that are illegal and that later become a problem for the State for violating rights. The creation of laws cannot be done with the beating of a drum,” said Alejandro Pacheco, head of the legislative party faction.

The ruling party, the Partido Progreso Social Democrático (PPSD), for the 2022-2026 legislative period has only 10 of the 57 legislative seats, while the major opposition, the Partido Liberacion Nacional (PLN) has 19, and the Partido Unidad Social Cristiana (PUSC) 9.

The opposition legislators are calling on the president to expand the agenda of projects to be discussed in parliament.

During the current legislative sessions (“sesiones extraordinarias”) and to January 2924,  the Executive Branch establishes the debate agenda for legislators.

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“I think it is an excellent opportunity for the Government to demonstrate that stopping the wave of insecurity is its priority. The deputies of the Security and Drug Trafficking Commission are willing to make the necessary corrections and work on the projects that are required. We only require a broader agenda of projects to be debated,” added Gilberto Campos, legislators of the Partido Liberal Progresista (PLP).

In that sense, Sofía Guillén, head of the Frente Amplio (FA), highlighted the interest of legislators from all parties in collaborating in the search for solutions to this problem.

The position of the opposition is not just talk, there is a plan of action proposed, among them:

Opposition deputies proposed a list of 28 projects to the government to solve insecurity problems.

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  • Modify the benefit of parole when it is related to drug trafficking issues and other crimes
  • Law to strengthen the judicial registry and avoid impunity
  • Law to strengthen flagrante delicto courts
  • Law against organized, establishing actions to persecute suspicious assets
  • Revocation of the nationality of a naturalized foreigner convicted of a crime greater than 4 years of prison time.
  • Reform to the telecommunications law Generates a criminal offense to reasonably punish the use of radio frequency devices that inhibit or block radio waves and cellular signals
  • Traffic law reform that eliminates Judicial police vehicles involved in investigation work for cases of fraud, corruption and other crimes against the Public Treasury not required to be marked.
  • Closing of legal loopholes to enforce the law against assets without apparent legal cause
  • Law on the prevention of violence against minors
  • Law for the prosecution of cases declared as drug activity, by creating a special criminal procedural regime to judge criminal cases of drug trafficking and those related to this criminal activity.


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