Prosecutor’s Office asks to withdraw immunity from President Carlos Alvarado

The Costa Rican Attorney General’s Office requested on Thursday the lifting of immunity and the opening of a trial against President Carlos Alvarado for three alleged crimes related to the unit through which the Presidency collected various data from the population.

For this case, the Presidential House in San José was raided on February 28, 2020 and later the Legislative Assembly formed a special commission in which Alvarado gave a statement. And although the Prosecutor’s Office is still working on reviewing the president’s computers and cell phones to extract information related to the case, the president is required to lose jurisdiction so that he can be prosecuted.

The interim attorney general, Warner Molina, asked the Supreme Court of Justice to manage the lifting of the immunity of Alvarado and the current pro-government deputy, Víctor Morales Mora, who was also a minister of the Presidency.

According to the accusation, the president is charged with the alleged crimes of prevarication —which implies issuing resolutions contrary to the law—, fraud of law and abuse of authority, since the Prosecutor’s Office considers that under the command of Alvarado and Mora the Presidential Analysis Unit of Data (UPAD) requested restricted and sensitive information from citizens from public institutions.

The UPAD existed under the justification that obtaining data from citizens could improve the design of public policies —such as those related to combating poverty— or the preparation of institutional budgets. Under this assumption, it would be possible to access population data related to their income or even their medical records.

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The president is singled out for having signed the decree that created the UPAD despite the fact that the request for this sensitive data requires a special law.

The document from the Prosecutor’s Office details that between May 2018 and February 2020, the advisors who are members of the UPAD “were part of units located in the Presidential House dedicated to the compilation and analysis of personal data” of citizens “without any regulation. to guarantee its performance.

The Attorney General’s Office confirmed on Thursday that it received the request to open a trial against the president, for which the Public Ethics Attorney’s Office will become the plaintiff against the president on behalf of the State.

Regarding the case, the Presidential House has not issued an official statement on the matter, while the president’s lawyers have told local media that they consider the prosecution’s accusation “hasty”.

To lift Alvarado’s immunity, the vote of 38 of the 57 deputies in the Legislative Assembly is required, while the official candidate of the Citizen Action Party, Welmer Ramos, has asked the president to waive his immunity.

Alvarado will finish his four-year presidential term on May 8, while the presidential and legislative elections will be held this Sunday in the first round.

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