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Property seizure deemed illegal

By Antonio De Jesús Aguado

On March 11 authorities from Poder Judicial (Judicial Authority) along with municipal police officers seized property belonging to an American woman. The case is under investigation because of its illegality, and the furniture and jewelry seized will be returned to her soon. The police officers have been removed from their posts and the local government should offer an apology for their behavior.

That same day, a document from the judicial authorities was sent to city hall, requesting that two police officers from the Public Security Department assist in a diligencia de embargo (precautionary embargo and serving of lawsuit), which was carried out at 4pm. A week later, a local TV station broadcast a video in which the woman whose property was seized denounced the seizure of her furniture and jewelry by police officers, who also handcuffed and arrested her for no reason, she said. The local government responded that the woman was arrested for aggression against the authorities and because she tried to run over them over in her car when a locksmith opened the doors of the house.

In an interview with Atención the woman commented that the court order was not against her but rather against the owner of the house, from whom she is renting. She said that she never attacked the police officers or those undertaking the seizure, nor did she attempt to run them over. She also commented that the judicial authorities and police officers took jewelry, furniture and other items that were her property and not the house owner’s, and that are not listed in the inventory.

Luz María Rodríguez, legal advocate for the woman, said that the seizure of property was completely illegal and that the person to whom the court order was addressed was not at the residence at that time, and for that reason those in charge of the property seizure should have left a notice informing him that they would come back the next day so he could be there, and that if he was not, then the seizure could proceed legally. The lawyer also made it clear that the process was also illegal because the judicial authorities did not respect the rental contract that the American showed them and she was arrested for no reason. Rodríguez remarked that “the agent from the Judicial Authority accepted the abuse of power by the police officers” and also commented that in a meeting that they had with the secretary of the city council, Ramón Medellín, he said that he would offer an apology to the woman.

On March 12, the judicial authorities issued a document stating that the seizure process had several inconsistencies and for that reason it has not been approved. This case has been broadcast on national and international television.


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