San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Former Costa Rican president appeals prison sentence

On Wednesday, ex-President Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, 71, appealed a 5-year prison sentence on a corruption charge, handed down on April 27.

Rodríguez’s lawyer, Rafael Gairaud, told the daily La Nación that a verbal appeal was filed during the hearing of a full verdict of the case. Rodríguez was found guilty of “instigating corruption” in a telecommunications deal involving the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) and French company Alcatel, now Alcatel-Lucent. The former president, who also briefly served as secretary general of the Organization of American States, was found not guilty of a separate charge of illegal enrichment. Several other co-defendants were found guilty of various corruption charges and received prison terms ranging from 18 months to 15 years (TT, April 29).

Gairaud also said the verbal appeal is just a complementary action before filing a formal appeal before the Supreme Court.

If the case is not overturned, Gairaud said he would bring the case before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

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