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  • Writer's picturePanama Human Rights

From hell they cry to 'Juan Carlos Varela'From the hell that three inmates live in.....

Updated: Sep 12, 2019

building 6 of the La Joya Penitentiary Centre, they ask President Juan Carlos Varela for repatriation.

The slowness that characterises the government of the President of the Republic, Juan Carlos Varela, has transcended the borders of Panama and crossed to the other side of the world because of the inhumane conditions in which three Spanish prisoners are found, who are still on hunger strike and demanding that the Isthmian State comply with the repatriation agreement towards the "Motherland". They are behind bars in La Joya penitentiary.

These are the inmates: Manuel Arcos Gimeno, 36, a native of Turís (sentenced to 9 years and 7 months in prison, has already completed 22 months); Raúl Gil Molina, 35 years old, from Elche (sentenced to 6 years and 8 months in prison, has served 16 months); both were arrested at the Tocumen International Airport; and finally, Juan José Marí Cabrales, 58, originally from Ibiza, who was captured in El Porvenir, the indigenous region of Guna Yala (sentenced to 5 years in prison, he has already served half). All three fell for the same crime: International drug trafficking. After the situation they live in at La Joya, they have had to use social networks to communicate the hell that consumes them in what is considered one of the worst prisons in Latin America.

Of the three, the one who is worse off is Juan José Marí Cabrales, who according to the versions of the inmates themselves, has an inguinal hernia "about to burst and end his life. He has been fighting for four years to have it repaired and at [Hospital] Santo Tomás they can not operate it because they do not have medicine or supplies. " Resulting in further delays and months waiting for updated pre surgery blood tests only to be disappointed with cancelled surgery in the same vicious cycle.

The other two - like the rest of the prison population - have suffered plagues, viruses,and open sores from the unsanitary and contagious washroom. Human rights violations, no medical attention, corruption of officials, implored to collect some rainwater to drink and go to the bathroom; and what is worse, a system that, far from continuing to advance, is going backwards.

A few days ago, through a Facebook account that supports inmates from Madrid, they have asked the Panamanian leader - who has expressed his pride for his Galician ascendancy - to "accelerate the repatriation of Spanish prisoners in Panama. Martinelli answered, you answer too "and posted the screenshot of a conversation they had with the Panamanian exmandatario, Ricardo Martinelli, through his Twitter account.


The post, addressed to Varela, states the following: "Tell 'your minister' to sign the repatriations of the Spanish prisoners in Panama. There is nothing to approve, everything is approved. The judge pronounced sentence, there is an agreement between Spain and Panama that has already been approved for a long time, so that the Spaniards comply with their sentence here. The Embassy of Spain in Panama awaits impatiently the signature of 'your minister' to send the approval immediately to Spain (maximum 15 days delay in sending it in your next suitcase).

As soon as they send it, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain, immediately passes it to Interpol. Interpol as soon as it receives the transfer order, will bring them flying under custody. In other words, as soon as the judge dictates a sentence, [the prisoners] do not have to remain there for a single day (24 hours). They could already bring them to Spain. What makes them stay up to a year there, is their evaluation protocol, minister's signature, Foreign Ministry... Who will compensate them for being there all that time?

Your protocol kills. One more day there can mean the difference between life and death. (You know this better than me). Therefore ... expedite the part that corresponds to you, as the government responsible and signatory of the treaty, because the other parties are already streamlined and because your predecessor, the former president Ricardo Martinelli, left the bar very high.In the year of mandate that you have, everything has come back to halt.

The statement ends by making the comparison: "Martinelli replied; answer you too "and concludes by paraphrasing the anthem of the official Panameñista party:" The world sees you! "

The previous administration, led by Martinelli, devised, executed and built La Gran Joya, a new and modern prison that meets all the conditions guaranteeing human rights and replaces the old Jewel. However, the transfer of the inmates to the new prison has suffered the syndrome of slowness and lack of basic facilities that many blame the management of Varela.

#Torture #Corruption #NicholasTuffney #Panamá #PanamáGovernment #LaJoyaprisonPanamá #PresidentVarela

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