Costa Rica’s Supreme Court condemns prisoner torture allegations
Costa Rica’s troubled prisons got dealt another black eye on Wednesday.
The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, known as the Sala IV, revealed that over 30 prisoners incarcerated in the maximum-security wing of La Reforma Prison, north of the capital, claimed to have been beaten and mistreated by penitentiary guards. A statement from the Sala IV said the complaints demonstrated a pattern of abuse during a short period of time.
The daily La Nación reported that the prisoners accused guards of beating and kicking them, and using chemical gas on their eyes, mouths and genitals. Some accused guards of forcing fingers into prisoners’ anuses.
The Sala IV ordered the Justice Ministry, which oversees Costa Rica’s prison system, to present a plan to address the alleged human rights abuses within three months.
Last February, ex-President Laura Chinchilla signed a law implementing the United Nations’ Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. The law established a mechanism within the Ombudsman’s Office to review and recommend improvements for prison conditions.
The Sala IV ordered the Justice Ministry to involve the anti-torture unit in its review of the complaints at the prison.
Aside from the recent allegations of mistreatment at prisons, overcrowding remains one of the biggest challenges facing the penitentiary system. Spikes in incarceration have swelled Costa Rica’s prison rolls. Chinchilla said prisons were 38 percent over capacity in her last speech as president to the Legislative Assembly in May.
You may be interested
Strong winds cause three deaths in Costa Rica, one in El SalvadorAFP - December 10, 2017
Three people have died in Costa Rica, includiing two Swiss tourists, and one in El Salvador as a result of…
6 camouflaged Costa Rican creatures you probably haven’t seenLindsay Fendt - December 9, 2017
The jungle can be a scary place, and even for some of the fiercest of Costa Rica’s creatures, sometimes the…
National Geographic-Lindblad Expeditions ship makes first visit to Osa PeninsulaThe Tico Times - December 8, 2017
National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions touched down for the first time on Costa Rica's renowned Osa Peninsula this week for…