REPORT Nº 95/06 PETITION 92-04 ADMISSIBILITY JESÚS TRANQUILINO VÉLEZ LOOR PANAMA October 23, 2006 I. SUMMARY 1. On February 10, 2004, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter referred to as “IACHR”) received, by e-mail, a petition lodged by Jesús Tranquilino Vélez Loor (hereinafter referred to as “the alleged victim”) in which he claims to have undergone torture, forced isolation, and mistreatment at the hands of Panamanian police officers at two Panamanian detention centers without being given the opportunity to defend himself, without the benefit of any court of law, without being allowed to make a telephone call, and while being deprived of all medical care. The petition alleges violation by the Panamanian State (hereinafter known as “the State”) of Articles 5 (Right to Humane Treatment), 7 (Right to Personal Liberty), 8 (Right to a Fair Trial), 10 (Right to Compensation), 21 (Right to Property), and 25 (Right to Judicial Protection) of the American Convention on Human Rights in conjunction with Article 1.1, and Articles 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to the detriment of Mr. Vélez Loor. 2. Mr. Vélez Loor, who is an Ecuadorian citizen, states that the Panamanian border police arrested him on November 10, 2002 because he was not in possession of valid papers and did not have the necessary visa. He was deported ten months later, on September 10, 2003. He says that he was stripped of his possessions and that these were never returned to him. He also claims that he was kept in two different detention centers, and that he was mistreated in both in a variety of ways. He alleges that while he was held in detention he was sometimes tortured and that he did not receive the medical care necessary to treat the consequences of the torture he had suffered. He adds that no legal investigation into the torture has been initiated and that he has had no access to suitable and effective legal remedies that would guarantee his right to justice. 3. The State informs that Mr. Vélez Loor was sentenced to a prison term for having repeatedly entered Panama illegally. Consequently, the State emphasizes that his arrest was legal and that the party alleging violation of his rights benefited from all the available guarantees to safeguard his rights. The State points out that Panamanian law provides that foreign nationals, who repeatedly enter Panama, without the necessary papers, will be imprisoned for two years and then deported. In response to the official complaint lodged by Mr. Vélez Loor at the Panamanian Embassy in Ecuador after he was deported, in which he claimed that he had been mistreated in Panamanian prisons, the State emphasizes that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs opened an investigation of the complaint both with the National Police and the National Directorate of Immigration. At the same time, it rejects Mr. Vélez Loor’s allegations with regard to his purported lack of medical care and provides details regarding the six occasions on which Mr. Vélez Loor was attended to by the prison doctor. 4. After analyzing the positions of the parties, the Commission concluded that it has jurisdiction to decide on the complaint made by the petitioners and that the case was admissible, under Article 46 of the American Convention. The Commission has decided to declare the case admissible under Articles 1.1, 2, 5, 8, 21, and 25 of the American Convention as well as under Articles 1, 6, and 8 of the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture. The Commission also declares inadmissible the alleged violation of Article 10 of the American Convention. As a consequence, the Commission will serve notice of its decision to the parties concerned and will publish the present admissibility report in its Annual Report. II. PROCESSING BY THE COMMISSION 5. The original petition was received at the Commission on February 10, 2004 and was registered as petition No. 92 of 2004. On August 3, 2004 the Commission received additional information from Mr. Vélez Loor. On March 17, 2005 Mr. José Villagrán (hereinafter “the petitioner”) was retained as Mr. Vélez Loor’s lawyer and presented arguments on April 12 and 1

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