San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Father of Killed Diplomat Requests ‘Serious’ Investigation

The father of a Chilean diplomat killed when a Costa Rican policeman stormed the Chilean Embassy in San José two years ago denounced official reports of the incident as flawed this week, and is pressuring authorities to launch a “serious” investigation into the case.

Jorge Sariego, father of cultural attaché Rocío Sariego, one of three victims killed by Costa Rican police officer Jose Orlando Jiménez on July 27, 2004 met with Costa Rican Vice-President and Minister of Justice Laura Chinchilla on the second anniversary of the shootings to point out alleged “errors” in Costa Rica’s investigation into the case.

With the help of a Chilean forensic specialist, Sariego said he found that his daughter and consul Christian Yuseff survived for two to five hours after Jiménez, the officer who was guarding the embassy, shot them point-blank, the wire agency EFE reported.

The other victim was Roberto Nieto, first secretary of the embassy, who according to the forensic study was the only one to die instantly. Jiménez suffered for hours after shooting himself in the chin.

Some 200 heavily armed police officers who had surrounded the diplomatic compound in eastern San José did not enter the building until nearly seven hours after the shootings.

Sariego said in a statement it is “clear that the true tragedy was the delay of the authorities to enter the embassy.”

“There was a lack of action on the part of the Costa Rican police. They didn’t enter when they should have, despite the fact that they knew what was going on inside and knew that after 11 minutes the aggressor wasn’t a threat,” Sariego said.

Sariego said that the Presidents of Chile and Costa Rica should “clean the image of their countries by launching a serious investigation.”

The father of the slain cultural attaché said that the official reports that his family has received are erroneous, with false statements such as that the incident was a “kidnapping.” He said he has not accepted the $97,000 indemnity offered by the Costa Rican government. He said he would like to settle the case with arbitration.

After the shooting, authorities told the Tico Times they believed Jiménez snapped after being notified he would be transferred from his post (TT, July 30, 2004).


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