San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Convicted Official Back in Court

FORMER Labor Minister Farid Ayales had to appear in court in the city of Alajuela yesterday to testify before a judge who will determine whether the former official will serve the remainder of a four-year prison sentence under house arrest or be sent back to prison.

The judge was given five days to make a decision and had not done so by time The Tico Times went to press.

The prosecutor’s office this week requested Ayales’s benefit of house arrest be revoked after the convicted minister was discovered in a bar Saturday in San Juan de Tibás, north of San José, according to Judicial Branch spokeswoman Sandra Castro.

Ayales said he stopped in his friend’s business while out of the house for a doctor’s appointment because he was feeling bad, Castro said.

Ayales was sentenced to four years in prison for selling work permits to Nicaraguan immigrants for ¢5,000 ($11.75), Castro said. Such permits are free. He began serving his sentence in March 2003.

Three days after he began serving his sentence, he was hospitalized for leukemia, La Nación reported. After five months in the hospital, a San José court said he could serve the remainder of his sentence under house arrest.

The conditions of his house arrest included a requirement that Ayales inform authorities in the prison system 24 hours before any doctor appointment, and 24 hours after a medical emergency.

Authorities reported justification for the Saturday appointment was received on Monday.


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