March 2nd marked the six month anniversary of the arrest, and imprisonment without trial in Costa Rica of Dave Strecker. Once again prosecutors asked to detain him for another two months, despite failing to produce any meaningful evidence of a crime. Although Dave will continue to receive hearings, his attorney is now convinced that he will be held for a year or more before a possible trial.
The only good news for Dave is that he is no longer a resident of the sex offenders unit at San Sebestian prison, and has been transferred to a facility for elderly prisoners. The new location does not suffer from the rampant overcrowding of San Sebastian prison, and Dave has access to 12 hours per day outside, better food and is allowed to receive longer duration phone calls. Dave also says that he feels more secure, as most of the inmates who remain at the prison are there voluntarily, having completed their long prison sentences, but being elderly and lacking a pension or family to care for them.
Getting Dave moved to the facility was no easy task, considering that those in pretrial detention are generally required to remain at the notorious San Sebestian prison. We believe that our efforts to bring public attention to Dave’s case, and the efforts of his attorney to continuously challenge his detention have put political pressure on the government to move Dave to a better facility.
Most importantly, Dave would like to thank those who have donated and paid his legal expenses. Today we are privately emailing all of the donors, and sending along his telephone number and contact instructions at the prison. Dave would like to personally speak with and thank those who have contributed to his cause.
Although the better facility is a small victory, the goal of freeing Dave will be a long road. According to Dave’s attorney, the government likely moved him because they intend to eventually bring the case to trial. The fact that Dave is a so called “test case”, and is facing charges of breaking a law that restricts free speech on the Internet makes him a higher profile case. Having an elderly foreign man confined to the notoriously poor conditions at San Sebastian prison brings more attention to the failed justice system in Costa Rica than the government’s actual case against him.
If you haven’t contributed to Dave’s cause, then please consider doing so now. Donate if you are opposed to a law that makes free speech illegal and punishes the Internet discussion of an activity that is not otherwise illegal. Donate if you are opposed to a tiny nation that arrests foreigners with little or no evidence, and then holds them indefinitely without trial as a form of punitive measure for speaking an embarrassing truth.
As always we will continue to keep the public informed about Dave’s case. Donors should check the email address on their Paypal accounts, later today for more detailed information on his case, as a trial seems very likely.