TICO BULL – Ordered to preventive detention in Costa Rica – that is time in jail while the investigation against you continues – can be a nightmare. More so for a foreigner.
But, did you know, that if ever you find yourself in that situation, you can make your stay in jail a pleasant and comfortable one? If you have the money.
Preventive detention has nothing to do with guilt or innocence: the cops have you and want to hold on to you. It doesn’t mean you have been charged and now waiting for you day in court: the detention is allow time for authorities to gather evidence and build a case against you.
If you are foreigner, you are automatically a flight risk – even if you have been living in the country for decades, own a home, a business, whatever.
IF authorities find sufficient evidence and can build a case against you, they have you to stand trial.
IF NOT, you will get a thank you (maybe) and let go. No harm, no foul. At this point you forget the last x number of months you spent behind bars, you are just glad you are out. Apology or not. BUT, it doesn’t mean the case against is dropped…
Getting back to making your stay “detention” a comfortable one. It’s easy if you have the money.
All you need is a doctor (not hard to fin) to say you have a medical condition that requires you have hospital care. The (your) doctor files his report, which you pay for. Depending on your depth of your pockets, you can arrange your “detention” stay at a nice private hospital, like the CIMA in Escazú, with all its comforts and even private security – a 24/7 police guard.
Take the case of the Iranian-American named Cyrs. He is alleged to have bilked investors in Costa Rica for US$10 million dollars. Cyrus, who has no prior record, is being investigated for fraud. The details aren’t important here.
To make a long story short, Cyrus decides to flee and then comes back. Again, not important here as to the why (he came back). Based on an arrest warrant against him, he is detained at the San Jose airport on his arrival in May of 2014 and ordered to remain in custody.
After spending a brief time in a series of jail cells (police, OIJ, courts, etc), Cyrus had the financial ability to spend detention at the CIMA hospital. Nine months and counting.
His challenge is the ability to continue his stay in comfort. The prosecution (Fiscalia), pressured by the victims, want him behind bars. So, the case is becomes a battle, not of lawyers, but of doctors: those paid by the State to say he is well enough to be in jail, and those paid by Cyrus, who say he sick and requires hospitalization.
Most likely, depending on who has the bigger doctor, Cyrus will continue his “detention” in comfort.
This is just one of those stories that makes living in Costa Rica great.
Pura Vida, Mae!