Interpol removes ex-guerrilla Edén Pastora from wanted people list

January 3, 2014

Nicaraguan Edén Pastora no longer appears on the International Police (Interpol) list of wanted persons, giving the ex-guerrilla an upper hand in the latest dispute between the neighboring countries.

On Dec. 17, Costa Rica sent Interpol a request to include Pastora on their wanted persons list on charges of “usurping public property” and “violating Costa Rica’s Forestry Law.” These actions refer to dredging works Pastora conducted at the Río San Juan – that functions as a natural border between the two countries – and that Costa Rica claims caused several environmental damage to its territory. The alert prompted Interpol to add the former guerrilla known as “Comandante Cero” to the list.

As of Friday, Pastora’s name is no longer on the agency’s website. Nicaragua’s Channel 15 reported that Pastora said Interpol removed his photo and name from the list “thanks to petitions sent by the Foreign Ministry and the National Police last December.”

Pastora previously told Nicaraguan media that Costa Rica’s request “was a joke not to be taken seriously [by the Interpol].”

He told Channel 15 that he has not committed any crime and that all charges were issued for actions conducted in a territory that currently is under dispute before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Therefore, he said, neither Costa Rica or Nicaragua have jurisdiction over it.

A press release from Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) states that the warrant against Pastora is still active in Costa Rica, even though his name was taken off Interpol’s website “following a request by Nicaraguan officials that pointed out the current dispute between both countries that remains before the ICJ.”  Supreme Court spokeswoman Melania Chacón denied Friday afternoon that the country’s judicial branch had revoked any of its charges against Pastora.

The order against Pastora was issued by a court in the Caribbean canton of Pococí. According to the OIJ, “Pastora will be arrested and prosecuted in the case that he enters Costa Rican territory.”

Watch Pastora’s interview on Nicaragua’s Channel 15 (in Spanish):

 

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