Panama Human Rights
Nick Tuffney 1 - A personal account of the traumatic events in Panamá.
The Judicial Process in Panama is rife with illegal and unethical practices; my case alone involved denying my children the right to a parent, false documents and disregard for human life.
Deportation of an Innocent Citizen
After being found innocent of all accusations made against me by my ex-wife, I was taken to a detention facility to await deportation. A great injustice took place after I was declared innocent. Documents show the date of my release from La Joya Prison as 22nd August; the date I arrived at the deportation centre is 27th August - nearly a week after I was found innocent. I spent 5 days incarcerated with convicted criminals after being found innocent. Such a decision placed me in great danger and clearly displayed little care for my welfare and safety.
Upon entering the Immigration detention facility, I was advised by other inmates that my money would be confiscated - I was not prepared to have the last of my money taken by another corrupt police commando. I decided to show upon entry that I had only $54, which is the bare minimum allowed. Little did they know I was concealing extra funds within my clothing, my wash towel, the back spine of my bible and the collar of my shirt; this money turned out to be vital over the following two weeks.
The deportation facility currently holds more than 110 men under lock and key. Some are undocumented immigrants who are awaiting deportation and some from La Joya prison, but several are recognized refugees or in the process of applying for refugee status. In my case I had been held in La Joya while awaiting trial, which resulted in my being automatically expelled. I spent 10 days in this deportation building and was deported for 10 years, regardless of being found innocent in court. I was ignominiously expelled from Panama, chained to a wheelchair from the detention centre to the airport. The magnitude of this unlawful deportation is accentuated when taking into consideration leaving behind my 11 year old son whom I had been prevented from seeing for 6 years, as well as a young daughter and a new born (the latter I had not yet been able to meet due to being incarcerated, waiting for a trial).
The standard of care provided by the British Embassy was significantly below satisfactory. Not only had they only shown up once in the 10 days I was there, Vice Consul Ana Lorena Jones and Diane McGarrity visited me on the 29th August - 7 days after they received the initial telephone call notifying them of my transfer to the National Immigration Deportation Centre, located 10 minutes away from their office in Marbella. Both ladies could explicitly see during the visit that I had been self-harming (the image below was taken by Diane) and my troubled psychology was clear; because of this it was anticipated that they would act dutifully with my case.
Miami Hospital after being Self Harm. Picture taken in the diagnosed malnourished. Deportation Centre.
During their visit, all notes taken by Ana were on an Android smart-phone instead of an official log book. At the end of the meeting I was promised further communication and they reaffirmed their commitment to my case and well-being. The steps they were supposed to take included: contacting the Human Rights office in Clayton, informing the US Embassy that I requested to see them, provision of supplies such as hygiene products and diarrhea medicine. Furthermore they should have been regularly checking on my deportation status.
The USA Embassy was notified by Captain Carrie of my status but did not make my acquaintance even once over the 10 day period even though their office is also located just 10 minutes away in Clayton. The above right image is Carrie’s handwriting with the content detailing that he would contact Miss Tania Escala at the US Embassy. Carrie later informed me there was no response to emails or phone calls, further highlighting the Embassy’s neglect and lack of care.
I heard nothing more from the Embassy officials and the promises went undelivered. I attempted to make contact with Ana on the 1st September 2014 by calling the Embassy to get updates on progress subsequent to the visit. From the call I was informed no one was in the office and that Ana had flown to Costa Rica for a week, which meant I was left without any representation. Finding this out severely increased my suicidal thoughts and propelled my self-harming at the prospect of being cared about so little and distanced further from my partner, family and children. Since 19th September 2014 I have had no form of correspondence with Ana; to this day my emails go unanswered. Had it not been for the grace and support of my family I would have committed suicide in the deportation centre that day.
I did not sign the deportation form that was put before me in Spanish because I was determined to stay and be a father to my children at whatever cost. Because of this, immigration captain Carrie and the Commissioner refused multiple verbal and written requests of mine and cancelled a meeting to see Jacqueline, my new born. Even worse was the impossibility of being registered on my daughter's birth certificate. Sadly this is still the case due to my financial situation; after all that has happened I cannot afford the $1,000 DNA test, paired with Documents Official Aposil charging $50.00 for each page of the substantial paperwork, in addition to the legal fees from both countries for the process. My deportation plainly violated Article 3 of the United Nations Human Rights Convention stating the best interests of the child should be a primary consideration.
There was one document I did eventually sign; it was written entirely in Spanish and I was refused access to a translation so I was unaware of its actual content but was told by Captain Carrie that it was my transfer document from La Joya to the deportation centre. This information transpired to be incorrect and was completely illegal behaviour. I later left Panama through the power of attorney (completely against my will); when my attorney Euldarin Asprilla saw my mental state he feared if I did not leave immediately I would, very soon, die.
Prior to my deportation I informed the Commissioner of the detention centre of the court order I had issued in my defence by Magistra. Elizabeth Huerta Morales, Judge for the Municipal De Familia, had ordered I was to pay child support for my abducted American son, plus my two indigenous Panamanian daughters. Captain Carrie received many letters from me asking for the Immigration Director to reconsider the reinstatement of my residency card so I could stay and provide for my children. All requests were rejected.
Neglect in La Joya
Throughout my time at La Joya I suffered ongoing medical issues instilled by prior negligent treatment of Panamanian officials. Starting with spending 16 days on a cold floor in Ancon detention centre with no toiletries or sleeping supplies, followed by the torture of spending 45 days chained to a wall for 45 days 24/7 in La Palma which lead to my osteoarthritis. The British and American Embassy arranged for me to see a doctor many times whilst in La Joya however for an eclectic variety of reasons I had 9 consecutive appointments cancelled before I was seen to.
The doctor prescribed me medication without any form of hands-on inspection to diagnose my condition. The medication was stolen on route to me from the medical clinic before I had the chance to use it, this can be confirmed as a signature is required. The following action was to attend the hospital for an x-ray. The x-ray was then lost by medical officials. The next step was an appointment entailing a full body check at Santo Thomas Hospital on September 29th 2014. However immigration officials overlooked this potentially life-determining appointment; when I did notify them of my medical issues they still decided to deport me regardless of my condition induced by my experience.
As I was unable to attend the appointment in Panama, when I arrived in Miami in a very frail condition I was rushed into ER at the Cleveland clinic in Western. The bill for my medical totaled over $4,160.30 plus an additional $400 for initial examination fees which I was entirely expected to fund the cost of.
Cleveland diagnosed me initially with a seizure and carried out a multitude of tests including a brain scan and x-rays and eventually found I was extremely malnourished. On my return to the UK I had my eyes examined as my sight had deteriorated from being in La Joya and subjected to intense suns rays, my attorneys request for glasses and reading glasses were rejected now the quality of my eye sight has drastically deteriorated where previously I have 20/20 vision and never needed to wear glasses.
It took the American Embassy two months to find me after being arrested back on May 16th 2013. Either they were not notified by the Panamanian authorities or they ignored the request, this situation was mirrored by my expulsion when they did not turn up even when they were the main point of contact as I was traveling on a US passport, the Immigration office made no effort to resolve this delicate situation. The picture bottom left of Jason was taken by the American Embassy on January 16th 2014 when they did a ‘Welfare and Whereabouts’ visit upon my I request which shows they had to have known I had an American son and did nothing when it came to upholding his most basic human rights for a son to have a father.
Cleveland Clinic Miami Billing Statement
Under Panamanian law all deportees should leave Panamá in good health. In my case this was not applied, below is a medical report showing I needed a medical follow up in September. When expelled in August, the authorities were fully aware of my current medical problems caused by the failings of the state. Many costs were incurred because of Panama's violations and neglect, which I then had to pay myself, as well as my countries of origin (UK & USA) contributing payment.
Convention on the Rights of the Child [pdf]
In Panamá the rule of thumb is that if convicted, you are automatically expelled from Panamá for a period of up to 10 years. If a prisoner fails to pay for their plane ticket and the state buys it on their behalf, you are automatically banned for 10 years. I was never convicted, never charged with any crime, and also my flight was paid for by my family. Regardless of these facts, I was duly expelled for 10 years. The state did not take into consideration the rights of a child to a father. I was a legal resident of Panamá with investments and a judge’s order to pay child support for my son Jason. All of these elements were overlooked.
The document below issued by the state of Panamá shows myself and Angel Delgaldo were totally absolved of all charges and declared totally innocent in 2014.
The above document and the below document have a disparity of 7 days. I was declared innocent on the 22nd August 2014 but was still in La Joya until 27th August 2014.
This letter needs to be a screenshot of the original:
Republic of Panama
October 3rd 2014
We spoke two weeks ago on the phone and have not heard back from you I hope you are okay?
I need to touch base with you so see if you have had any correspondence from anyone since leaving the hell hole ‘La Joya’.
I have had no updated information in relation to the Defensora investigation which was activated by ‘Mrs Ellis Rios’ and ‘Mr Urriolla’.
I requested a copy of the supply items that the ambassador brought out to me when he visited La Joya .On the list were items like: a Fan, TV and other items?
I need to find out what has happened in relation to my complaint that I filed with the embassy when in, Ancon, La Palma and La Joya and also when I was shot in the eye back in August when the police raided our building and fired plastic bullets and shot
gas indiscriminately, as of to date I have had heard nothing in relation to any these issues and nothing from the Defensora.
I am aware that you have just taken over the post and it was before you started back at the embassy, but if you could investigate I would be extremely grateful.
When I was deported against my wishes and chained to a wheel chair whilst being taken to the airport (Innocent) I still had pending medical appointments at ‘Santo Thomas’ Hospital which immigration knew about.
When I landed in Miami I was taken to the ‘Cleveland Clinic’ where I was then rushed into the emergency department and subsequently later was then E-Mailed an invoice for $4,560.00
Being in La Joya for such a long time and with no funds I am in no way able to pay this invoice. I have approached ‘Prisoners Abroad’ but to no avail, do you have any suggestions as I am penniless and soon to be destitute as my residence was in Panama and I cannot stay in my mother’s house for ever.
Kind Regards and have a great weekend and please pass on my regards to the ambassador and the staff and a Salado’s to Diane please.
W: 01634 716666
F: 01634 290620
Below Mr. Tuffney was a legal resident of the Republic of Panamá and not a illegal alien. He entered legally to re-unite with this son but to devastating consequences
Totally asinine how Panamá can invent a law that is not applicable to Mr. Tuffney's situation, but with Panamá's corrupt state officials this is totally possible and was a true event that actually happened to the detriment of his family that he sadly left behind. Evidence below clearly shows Mr. Tuffney was adamant that he was not going to leave his children behind, and in doing so he refused to sign his deportation notice in protest.
[Article 72 Pic]
Many injustices occurred throughout the process of my case being brought to trial and my eventually being declared innocent. Had I had a fair trial immediately, I would not have been exposed to the other traumas and degrading experiences I was subject to over the 16 months, as it would have been acknowledged as a ludicrous case.
When the trial was initially communicated to the public via TVN-2, there came the first piece of dubious evidence which would suggest the ordeal would be unjust and weighted against me. Some of the footage aired was of me outside my home with police officers and the inside of my home in the Darién. Although the newscast suggested that the footage had just been taken, it had in fact been taken approximately two years prior. It was highly deceptive; the officers were not there for my arrest, as the context of TVN-2 implied, but instead they were there as invited visitors to my home. They include Elsa Garzon, the Commissionada of Tourism Police, and other high-ranking officials.
I met them at a black-tie ball in Panamá, and they stayed at my house with me for three days. The image was taken on the camera of Dilsa Isenet Julio Diaz, a relative of Laura’s who later testified against me, so the only way for TVN-2 to obtain the image would have been through Dilsa. Proof of the two-year disparity is in the presentation of my home. In the shot with me in it, it is well-kept, and the later footage the house shows that it has clearly been derelict for a long period of time (see below images).
Also in the image below, second to the left is Angel Delgardo, who was also under investigation in the same case. His name was not mentioned once throughout the footage.
[Image of house and TVN2 Vid Report]
The images of “witchcraft paraphernalia” in my house, the subject of the video clip, however, were filmed after I had left, as they were not my possessions. My house must have been broken into for the footage to be taken, as I was the only person with a key to that home. The two-year-old footage provided by Dilsa to TVN-2 was also the exact same image that was used as official evidence in court by the prosecutor. Further proof of this is the paper the image was printed on when presented in court. Panamá’s standard form of paper is letter-size, where in the UK it is A4. A4-sized paper is not found in Panama, but I had previously brought some with me from the UK, and in the court of law, the evidence produced against me was printed on the A4 paper I had brought with me and had previously supplied the Gallardos. The injustice here lies in that, for the image to be worthy of conviction, it should have been taken officially by the police or a body acting on behalf of the government. It was not, and yet it was still accepted.
The two images below indicate my feelings of betrayal when I watched the footage being aired. The gentleman in the left image, speaking about me to TVN-2 in a defamatory way, was in fact someone I had previously helped. His t-shirt was one of the many donations I had sent over. Benchmarx, the name emblazoned on his t-shirt, is the name of a small kitchen fitting company based in Kent, England.
[Man at table and Red Bins]
Full video footage can be found on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3ucU9_S24E
In a separate clip from TVN-2, there were antiquated shots screened in conjunction with one present shot of me standing on the court steps addressing the press, a decision I took to address the spiraling conspiracy against me. I stood next to Angel Delgardo, who acted as the translator between me and the film crew. The bias against me can be observed also through the fact that Angel was also under suspicion of the same charges as myself, yet there were no questions directed to him nor was he even named in the clip.
The trial itself, which convicted me, was biased. The prosecutor in a fair trial is supposed to be impartial and have no form of relationship with either the accused or the accuser. For my trial, the prosecutor, Juzgado de Circuito de Darién, was well acquainted with the Gallardos in a tight-knit community of merely 1000. He had come into contact with Dilsa Julio Diaz (Laura’s cousin) by working in the same prosecutor’s office. (Dilsa also testified against me.) Milka Gallardo worked next door at the National Bank, Daisy Gallardo worked in the building opposite, and Laura’s cousin worked for the La Palma police. Furthering the dubious actions of the prosecutor, he was supposed to be responsible for my welfare until, if, or when I was charged with a crime. Until that point I was innocent, yet the prosecutor chose to detain me in La Palma jail—a prison that only two years prior was closed due to human rights abuses. I also have evidence to suggest that when the Gallardos retracted their statements, the prosecutor, when he spotted them walking down the street, stopped them to address them on their action and interrogate them as to why they retracted. These are not the actions of an impartial prosecutor.
Laura, my ex-wife was being represented by Panamá attorney Irvin Maxwell in the case of our divorce and the custody of my son, Jason Tuffney. Given my wife’s increasing hostility throughout the divorce, it then came as a great surprise to see on TVN-2 in relation to my arrest that Maxwell was standing on the court steps, openly admitting that he was going to be the lawyer representing the Gallardo family. Not only does this imply a conspiracy, taking into consideration the Gallardo family’s court statements were all false, (which is why they were subsequently retracted), but it also remains unquestioned how an impoverished family from the Darién was able to afford a high-class city attorney who would have cost in excess of $300 per hour.
The Gallardos, when providing their false statements in the court of law, committed perjury, which was a significant contribution to my illegitimate conviction. However, after retracting their statements that had me falsely imprisoned, none of the family has been prosecuted for their actions. At my official court hearing, not one Gallardo was present nor their legal representation, further alluding to the notion of a conspiracy against me.
When I was incarcerated in La Joya prison, the conspiracy against me continued, with five consecutive court dates cancelled prior to being my case being heard and my finally being declared innocent. The dates are as follows:
Documented connection between Laura, the Gallardos, and Maxwell can be seen below.
[Ordiencia Oral de Alimentos]
The above image is of Laura Gallardo Tuffney’s private attorney, Irving Maxwell, representing her at a court hearing.
The above image is a letter from Irving Maxwell that clearly shows beyond reasonable doubt that Laura Gallardo Tuffney was the endorser and fundraiser for the case in Darién, being the plaintiff earned only $20 a day and lived 12 hours away from the attorney’s office.
[Cancelled Court Dates]
Every effort to make it to my hearing required that money had to pass hands to secure transportation. On many occasions money was handed over for transportation, but it failed to arrive. The video below is testimony to paying a police commando to ensure that transportation could be provided for a fee of $140. A July court date was accepted, and I was duly there but not without great difficulty. My attorney, Fidel Asprilla, informed me prior to my hearing that again they might have to cancel the trial, as they did not have an interpreter. However, in the same conversation I was told that if I covered the $1000 cost of an interpreter, it would be possible for the trial to commence, and I would be reimbursed later for the cost. Desperate to leave and finally clear my name, I covered the cost, yet I was never reimbursed.
As tragic as my circumstance was, I spoke to another gentleman in La Joya—a conversation that I have on video camera—who had been in that prison for five years with eight cancelled trials, demonstrating that my case was not simply an anomaly.
The above is video of an inmate who has been detained in La Joya for over five years and is still waiting for his court appearance. This type of treatment is systemic in the judicial system throughout Panamá. Many inmates, if found guilty, have already served their sentences, but sadly for some who are innocent, this is a miscarriage of justice.
My mounting frustration with the lack of progress on my case and consecutive cancellations led me to seek external assistance. I was greatly horrified to see the minimal course of action undertaken in my time of such need. The following pages document letters and emails I sent to the British Embassy, USA Embassy, and his Excellency, President Martinelli on 18 December 2013.
Many emails were sent from Maria Gabriela Lopez of the British Embassy to me in response to my questioning the judicial injustice. At a time when I expected support and compliance, I was met with apathy. Maria identified the complexity of the case as one of the core issues resulting in the cancellations of trials. This cannot be true. I would not be summoned to court in the first place unless the complexities had been addressed beforehand. Additionally, that would be a viable excuse on one occasion, not five.
The British and American embassies never involved the defensora regarding my trials being unfairly cancelled, even though the circumstances desperately called for impartial assistance.
An example of the American Embassy neglecting me in a time of need was on 18 November 2013. I rang the consul regarding the numerous cancellations, after waiting in line in the prison for over an hour to use the phone and my osteoarthritis causing me great pain throughout. When I finally got through, I was told there were too many people at the consulate window and to call back at another time. There was one working phone for the 520 people in my building as the others had been vandalised, and its reliability was inadequate at the best of times. I was innocent and in prison, and yet I was told to call back later because the lady was busy.
Below is the transcription of a WhatsApp conversation I had with my attorney, who informed me that others, such as Laura, the Director of Police, and the President’s ex-wife, were interfering in my case. This conversation was sent to the British Embassy, and yet there was still no action. My attorney is willing to provide any further information required.
This cry for help to the British embassy was left totally unanswered, especially knowing my delicate condition
Sandy Patrick Luzer Pardo (American), however, committed murder by eating his victims and was then released onto the streets of Las Tablas, Panamá in 2016 after serving his 20-year sentence in La Joya.
Pics of Sandi
Tuesday, 22 March 2016 - 12:01 a.m.
He paid 20 years for the crime of killing Oristela Batista, 18 years old. The murder occurred in 1995 in El Ejido de Los Santos.
Sandy committed this crime as a cult contract killing. He was nominated out of many to carry out this sacrifice by his elders in the US. He was sent to Panama to carry out this ritual murder, which he did.
Upon speaking to Sandy, he said: “If I was nominated again by my elders I would do the same.” Sandy’s cult believes that you will have eternal life by doing what is asked ask of you. The main focus of Sandy’s beliefs is to rid the world of people, and doing this will gain him extra eternal life.
"I have no pity. I went out with my head up, I paid my 20 years and 14 days, 14 extra days." These were the words of Sandy Patrick Luzer Pardo, a man who paid a sentence for the crime of homicide and now, 20 days after leaving prison, he walks through the streets of Las Tablas, in the province of Los Santos.
Luzer Pardo ended his stay on 1 March after being sentenced for the aggravated homicide to the detriment of Oristela Batista, a fact that occurred on 8 December 1995 in El Ejido de Los Santos.
Lucero Pardo yesterday went to the Court of Justice to take a copy of the nine volumes of his case file, because his brother Frank Luzer Pardo, who was convicted of the same homicide and continues to serve his prison sentence, filed a complaint with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Costa Rica.
He added that he will also take details of the file for his novel that will be published soon. "The novel deals with what were the case and a parallel history of what is the deepest of esotericism, strictly, what they vulgarly call Satanism. The writing is entitled Gospel of Darkness, book third version of demons," he said.
Frank and his brother Sandy were sentenced in August 2000 to 20 years in prison for the murder of Oristela Batista, 18 years old. Frank escaped from La Joyita on 16 August 2006 but was recaptured years later in Mexico, and his sentence was increased.
The Luzer brothers, who were part of the United States Army, were accused of delivering at least 32 stabs to the victim.
[Chopped up body]
Cheers Mr President For Releasing Me Onto The Streets Of Panamá with the possibilities of eating Panamanian people again in the same church location in Los Santos