San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Woman on Hunger Strike In Front of Court

Rashida Jenny Torres says she won’t eat until she’s reunited with her Argentine husband. She wants the judicial system to overturn what she says is an unjust decision by Immigration to keep him out.

Dressed in a floor-length emerald tunic with her head wrapped in fabric, Torres, 38, a practicing Muslim, is on a hunger strike in front of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV).

She explained to The Tico Times this week that her husband Marcos Derman has lived with her in Costa Rica for about one year and travels every two months to Argentina to visit his children. Since he does not yet have residency, he enters Costa Rica on a tourist visa.

Last week, he was detained by Immigration officials at JuanSantamaríaInternationalAirport, just outside San José, upon entering Costa Rica because he failed to produce a ticket proving he planned to return to Argentina. He offered to buy the ticket, but Immigration officials refused to accept this offer and put him on a plane back to Argentina, Torres said.

“I am on a hunger strike. As a Costa Rican, I ask for justice and my rights. Return my family to me,” reads a sign propped up at Torres’ post in front of the court building.

She filed a lawsuit before the Sala IV Oct. 3 requesting an injunction of Immigration’s ruling to deny her husband entrance to Costa Rica, and she says she plans to continue her hunger strike, which began Sunday, until he returns here.

Judicial Branch spokesman Sergio Bonilla said the process could be lengthy.

Once a citizen files this type of lawsuit, its admissibility must be studied by the Judicial Branch, which takes a few days. If it is deemed admissible, a judge studies it and rules, which could take months.

After talking with The Tico Times, Torres spread a small rug over the concrete and carried out one of her daily prayers as those entering the court building glanced acuriously in her direction.


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