Judges Extend House Arrest For Ex-Presidents

June 24, 2005

SECOND Circuit Penal Courtjudges have prolonged the preventivedetention orders for former PresidentsRafael Ángel Calderón, Jr. (1990-1994)and Miguel Ángel Rodríguez (1998-2002), both accused of accepting illegalpayments in connection to separate corruptioncases.Both men have been serving a seriesof consecutive detention orders in theirhomes and in the penitentiary LaReforma, outside of San José, since theirarrests in October 2004 (TT, Oct. 22,2004).Rodríguez, whose house arrest wasset to end last week, was ordered to servefour more months June 14. His detentionorder is now scheduled to end Oct. 14,just a day shy of the one-year anniversaryof his arrest upon his return from theUnited States, where he was serving asSecretary General of the Organization ofAmerican States (OAS). His resignationfrom the post, which he had held onlyone month, took effect the same day.Like Calderón, he was moved fromhouse arrest to La Reforma in November,then back to house arrest in March,reportedly because of his health problemsand investigators’ progress in the case.Calderón’s house arrest order was setto end Wednesday. On Monday, JudgeCarmen Peraza ordered that he servethree more months, ending Sept. 22,according to wire service EFE. TheProsecutor’s Office, which is investigatingboth corruption cases, had asked thejudge to extend the preventive detentionorder by five months.Calderón, 55, is accused of mastermindingthe distribution of a $9.2 million“commission” on a medical equipmentpurchase by the Social SecuritySystem (Caja). Rodríguez is accused ofaccepting payments related to a multimillion-dollar telecommunications contractawarded during his presidency (TT,Oct. 22, 2004).Under the terms of their detention,neither former head of state is allowed toleave the country or communicate withother suspects in their cases. Only doctors,lawyers, family members or othervisitors approved by a judge can visittheir homes.In an interview with The Tico Timesat his home June 2, Rodríguez criticizedauthorities for detaining him for eightmonths without formally charging him,but said he is confident he will receive afair trial (TT, June 10).

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