Ecuadorean officials say fugitive ex-lawmaker wanted for murder may be hiding in Costa Rica

June 9, 2014

Ecuador’s Chief Prosecutor Galo Chiriboga on Wednesday said his office has received reports that former lawmaker Tito Galo Lara Yépez, who fled his country after being convicted in a murder trial, may be hiding in Costa Rica.

Chiriboga said prosecutors sent documents regarding the case to judicial authorities in Costa Rica, and that “international contacts were made to find Lara’s whereabouts in the country,” the Ecuadorean daily La Hora reported.

Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Police on Wednesday evening confirmed they are aware of an Interpol red notice on Galo Lara, who had been living in Panama, where he was granted asylum in October after leaving Ecuador.

Galo Lara’s entry in Costa Rica allegedly occurred following Panama’s decision on May 19 to revoke asylum for the former politician.

Galo Lara was sentenced last year to 10 years in prison after a court convicted him of being an accomplice to the murder of three members of a family in the province of Los Ríos in 2011.

An investigation determined that Galo Lara’s wife, Carolina Llanos, was the mastermind behind the killings and the one who paid  hit men to commit the crime. Llanos was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2013.

After fleeing Ecuador, Galo Lara filed a complaint with the Costa Rica-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights (ICHR), arguing that his human rights were being violated and claiming he “was being persecuted by his country’s government.”

Chief Prosecutor Chiriboga at the time denied the accusations, saying Galo Lara’s case was not political and therefore the ICHR should not intervene. A criminal court in Ecuador already had issued a final ruling in the case, Chiriboga said.

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