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Panama Catholic Church norms to protect  minors from sexual abuse

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Panama Archbishop

Posted 10/05/2019

The Panamanian Episcopal Conference (CEP)  has announced that it will adopt the new norms for the protection of minors that are established in the Apostolic Letter by Pope Francis on May 9.

A CEP I press release said that they will carry out the adjustments of the document "Protecting Our Treasure", which is the protocol for the handling of cases of abuse of minors, approved by the Holy See for the Catholic Church in Panama.

The announcement also reiterates the "zero tolerance commitment to this crime" as "the Apostolic Letter of the Pope points out".

The apostolic letter was published by the Press Office of the Holy See on May 9, and will come into force on June 1, 2019, reported the Catholic Information Agency.

In the document are the new norms to prevent and denounce cases of sexual abuse within the Church. issued by  Pope Francis

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama-catholic-church-norms-to-protect-minors-from-sexual-abuse-1

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Reporting of Panama child sex abuse leaps 68%

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Posted 13/07/2019

Reports of sexual abuse of minors in Panama ballooned 68% between 2017 and 2018 in Indicating greater awareness of a scourge that has remained invisible, say sources from the Public Prosecutor's Office and Unicef.

The statistics, do not allow "categorically affirm that the number of victims has increased: what we can affirm is that the registry of complaints is greater", the UNICEF office in Panama told the Efe News Agency.

"We are beginning to perceive another attitude on the part of the fathers and mothers since they are beginning to resort to the authorities to stop this type of abuse," prosecutor Maruquel Castroverde, a member of the Public Ministry's team in charge of the complaints, told Efe.

In 2018, the authorities received 6,256 complaints of crimes against sexual freedom and integrity and in 4,015 of them, the victim was a minor, 68% more than in 2017, when 6,621 complaints were filed.

Girls, make up 91% of the victims identified. Of the 4,015 minor victims identified by the Public Prosecutor's Office last year, 1,513 were due to rape.

When you look closely at the numbers of victims of sexual violence - irrespective of age. "Most of the victims are in social strata with very marked economic deficiencies and are usually of school age," said Castroverde.  The aggressors are usually people from the victim's family circle or very close to it.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/reporting-of-panama-child-sex-abuse-leaps-68

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46 human traffickers busted in Panama-Costa Rica raids

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Posted 30/07/2019

A joint operation targeting a human trafficking organization operating in Panama and Costa Rica led to the arrest on Tuesday, July 30  of 46 people dedicated to the trafficking of  Haitian, Cuban, African and Asian migrants.

The Costa Rican authorities reported that they carried out 36 simultaneous raids in communities near the border with Panama and the border with Nicaragua, in which 36 people were arrested, including the alleged leaders of the band.

Among the detainees are two women with surnames Ruiz Umaña and Bejarano Morales, who apparently led the operation on the border with Panama, as well as another woman with surnames López Martínez, known as "Mamá África", who directed the smuggling of migrants on the border with Nicaragua.

Panama arrests
Panamanian authorities carried out 21 raids in the capital and in the province of Chiriquí, in which they arrested 10 suspected of working as a branch of the Costa Rican criminal group.

"In the operation 'Adalid'  24 officials of the Public Ministry and more than 50 agents of the National Police participated said the First prosecutor against  Organized Crime, David Mendoza in a message posted on  Twitter.

The authorities in Panama revealed that traffickers charged migrants up to $1,500 for crossing Panamanian territory and granted them tourist visas.

Costa Rican authorities reported that the investigation began in January 2018 when the Professional Migration Police received information indicating that in the northern area (border with Nicaragua) a criminal network operated to traffic foreigners.

"The organization collected sums of money from $7000 to $20.000, depending on the country of origin, or the profile of the foreign person trafficked," explained the Migration Directorate General 

The investigation determined that the group trafficked people from Haiti, Cuba, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Angola, Cameroon, Nepal, and  India, among others.

The organization took migrants from Panama and was responsible for mobilizing them through Costa Rica to facilitate their path to the United States.

According to the investigation, trafficked people arrived on the mainland by air, using some of the airports in Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia or Peru as their port of entry In the Americas, migrants were mobilized by the organization to mobilize them to travel overland to Costa Rica and on to the. border with Nicaragua, where they were lodged in  "safe houses."

Subsequently, people traffickers moved them to Honduras or Guatemala by sea or land, where they were handed over to other people dedicated to migrant trafficking.

The detainees face a maximum of 10 years in prison for the crime of trafficking in persons.

In the operation on Tuesday in Costa Rica, the Professional Migration Police, the Deputy Prosecutor's Office against Trafficking and Illicit Traffic in Migrants and the Ministry of Security participated.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/46-human-traffickers-busted-in-panama-costa-rica-raids

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Supreme Court accepts sexual offense case against lawmaker

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Dr Arquesio Arias,

Posted 08/08/2019

The plenary of the  Supreme Court  unanimously admitted on Thursday, August 8, a criminal complaint filed against PRD  Arquesio Arias, of the Guna Yala Region, for the alleged commission of the crime against the sexual freedom and integrity

Judge Olmedo Arrocha will act as prosecutor, and Judge Harry Diaz as guarantee judge.

Two complaints were filed against Arias; One of them was presented by a 22-year-old citizen, who says that the deputy, who is a doctor by profession, allegedly abused her when she had a Pap test during a medical consultation.

According to the file, the criminal complaint admitted was the one filed in the Public Prosecutor's Office in 2018 against Arias, before being elected and, before having acquired the prerogatives of a special procedure to be criminally prosecuted

"The Public Ministry, through the respective agency, referred the process for the knowledge of the Supreme Court of Justice, in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code, "said a statement from the Judicial Branch.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/supreme-court-accepts-sexual-offense-case-against-lawmaker

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Mother jailed 15 years for forcing daughter to sex acts with husband

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Posted 10/09/2019

A mother from Colon will spend 15 years behind bars for forcing her 13-year-old daughter to have oral sex with her husband reported the Public Ministry.

The man, César Olivero, was earlier convicted of libidinous acts and corruption of minors. The girl's mother, Militza Misbeth Macías, was convicted as an accomplice to libidinous acts and as an author for the crime of corruption of minors.

"This happened in June 2018, on the third street of the Nuevo Colón neighborhood, in the Sabanitas district, where Olivero committed libidinous acts against a 13-year-old teenager, trying to gain carnal access orally with said minor, all this was done with the consent and participation of the mother of the minor, who together with the convict facilitated that the young woman witnessed and will participate in acts of a sexual nature, said the Public Ministry on Tuesday, September 10. In addition to the 15-year sentence, parental rights and the exercise of guardianship were suspended once they served the main sentence.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/mother-jailed-15-years-for-forcing-daughter-to-sex-acts-with-husband

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Another big hit on human trafficking networks

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Posted 12/09/2019

Over  20 foreigners, victims of labor exploitation were rescued in “Operation Lightning”, managed  by the Public Ministry and the National Police in the city of Chitré, Herrera on Thursday, September 

Another 24 had been freed in Panama earlier in the month.

The latest raid took place in the Renaissance neighborhood, in the San Juan Bautista district.

Where the police managed seized two firearms.

The action,  latest action has enabled authorities to dismantle another network dedicated to human trafficking.

Those affected were interviewed and provided with guidance by Public Ministry staff.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/another-big-hit-on-human-trafficking-networks

 

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Three Asians in detention following slave trade bust

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Posted 15/09/2019

Three merchants of Asian origin are in preventive detention for alleged links to a crime against humanity in the form of trafficking in persons for labor exploitation.

The detention follows a Saturday appearance before Judge of guarantees  Julissa Saturno in  Herrera.

A fourth defendant is under house arrest and a fifth in the run.

On September 12, the Special Prosecutor's Office against Crime dismantled a criminal network allegedly dedicated to trafficking in persons for labor exploitation.

In the operation the release  of 23 people was achieved, including six Venezuelans, three Chinese, two Nicaraguans, in the Renacimiento neighborhood, city of Chitré. 

At the five hour  hearing, which was held in room 1 of the Herrera Accusatory Criminal System Saturn legalized the seizure of telephone data obtained by the Prosecutor's Office against Organized Crime. and and laid charges for the alleged crime of trafficking in persons for labor exploitation that occurred in the company Importadora y Exportadora Limite, SA located in Chitré. 

Prosecutor Isaura Mejía, on behalf of the Public Prosecutor's Office , said that the four defendants are being investigated for facilitating the displacement in the national territory, for approximately three years, of female and male nationals and foreigners in "conditions of vulnerability", since their documents were withheld to "exploit them  into forced labor".

Mejía said  that there is a fifth person linked to the crime , but is outside the country.

Ddefense lawyer, Arcelio Mojica, requested that his clients be granted bail of $ 10,000, $ 15,000 and $18,000, which was denied,

The lawyer appealed the precautionary measure imposed on his defendants and the hearing was set for September 20, which will be presided over by the Superior Court of Appeals of the Fourth Judicial District, which includes Herrera and Los Santos.

The crime of trafficking in persons establishes prison sentences ranging from 15 years to 20 years, and if there is an aggravation, the sentence ranges from 20 years to 30 years, according to the authorities
 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/three-asians-in-detention-following-slave-trade-bust-1

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On 8/9/2019 at 9:40 AM, Moderator_02 said:

 

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Prosecutor orders emotional support for alleged sex crime victims

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Deputy Arquesio Arias

Posted 08/10/2019

Supreme Court Judge  Olmedo Arrocha, acting as prosecutor in the trial of PRD  Deputy Arquesio Arias for alleged sexual crimes, will request that emotional support be provided to the victims.

The case reached the Court after July 1 when Arias, of the official Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD), was elected deputy of the National Assembly by circuit 10-2 (Guna Yala District).

Before that date, the Municipal Personage of Guna Yala was in charge, but at that time they were two processes. One linked to the complaint filed by a 22-year-old girl, who says that Arias, who is a doctor by profession, allegedly abused her at the time of having a Pap test during a medical consultation. The other is alleged sexual abuse of a minor in circumstances similar to those of the 22-year-old

In court, the two cases were assigned to Arrocha, and his colleague Hernán De León. Both files were admitted by the plenary,  and on August 22 they were ordered accumulated into one. Arrocha was appointed prosecutor, while magistrate Harry Diaz was appointed judge of guarantees.

On September 20 the formal investigation began.  At the moment, data is still being collected and when there is sufficient evidence to support the accusation a hearing will  be requested, said the Judicial Branch. 

In a story published by La Prensa on July 7, Arquesio Arias said that, he worked as a doctor at the Ustupu Health Center, and that these cases are a “political” issue, product of the parties' primaries in 2018.

He insisted that it is a “dirty” campaign and that his legal team has proof that what he is trying to impute was not so. “I was working in that community [Ustupu] for two years. If something serious had happened, they would have taken me out of the community, but I finished my period, ”he said.

He said  that one of his opponents of the political campaign pushed the alleged case to get him out of the contest, but that the community authorities said that it was all about a "political attack."

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/prosecutor-orders-emotional-support-for-alleged-sex-crime-victims

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OPINION: Justice lessons not learned

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Urgency of alleged sexual crimes case m,isjudged

Posted 14/10/2019

A deputy of the National Assembly has serious denunciations for alleged highly denigrating and unworthy crimes.

Meanwhile, in the Supreme Court sits the case in the hands of a magistrate who, apparently, does not understand the urgency or the relevance of this.  In turn, a majority of the deputy's colleagues on his bench back him by stating that it is "political persecution."

Respecting the presumption of innocence of the deputy, we must also respect the image and dignity of an entire country and the human rights of the alleged victims, which both mattered in the case of the Ombudsman.

Two deputies from another party have already asked him in the plenary to voluntarily separate and attend to his case. Do the PRD gentlemen need four million Panamanians to ask for the same? The national repudiation against the witch payrolls, the ghost bats and other abuses of the deputies in the previous period inspired the  “no to re-election”, movement which defeated two-thirds of those who sought to return to the legislative body.

 A little over 100 days have passed, and we continue with the old practices. They learned nothing. -LA PRENSA, Oct. 14

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/opinion/opinion-justice-lessons-not-learned-1

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On 10/9/2019 at 11:20 AM, Moderator_02 said:

 

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Prosecutor requests  hearing of deputy facing sex crime probe

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Olmedo Arrocha

Posted 14/10/2019

Supreme Court Justice Olmedo Arrocha, who is acting as prosecutor of PRD Deputy Arquesio Arias for alleged sexual crimes, has called for imputation hearing on Friday, October 18.

The announcement came as more allegations surfaced of offenses against teen-aged girls, members of a school basketball team and after President Laurenzo Cortizo has had suggested that in a similar position he would have stepped aside from his seat in the Assembly while the case was investigated. Moves by two CD Party  legislators to get Arias to stand down failed.

Arias, a doctor, has described the allegations as a political plot. The initial investigations by the Court were. for alleged sexual crimes against a minor, and a 22-year-old girl. 

The Judicial Branch reported that Judge Arrocha has also requested the holding of a precautionary measure hearing by the full plenary of the Court, who are competent to hear these requests, in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code.

“A prosecuting  Magistrate can request any of the precautionary measures indicated in the Code. The only thing that we cannot ask for is the separation of the position of the deputy from the  Assembly “ said a judicial Tweet

At a Monday press conference Arias said that the two patients are sisters and relatives of a classmate who competed against him in the primary and He added that in the last week the case has taken a total turn, but despite this, he will not oppose the development of any investigation. "All this is affecting my family and the party. It is a local political conspiracy. It is a case to attack my party and my political career," Arias said repeatedly.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/prosecutor-requests-hearing-of-deputy-facing-sex-crime-probe

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On 10/16/2019 at 12:30 AM, Moderator_02 said:

 

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System failure in"The other Panama” girls investigation

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In spite of hints from President Cortizo, Arias remains firmly glued to his sear

Posted 16/10/2019

Doctors and organizations that defend the rights of women and have joined the growing outcry against the refusal pf a PRD ruling party legislator to step down while being investigated for the alleged commission of crimes against sexual freedom when He was a doctor in Guna Yala .

The National Women's Council expressed its "repudiation" for the acts in which Arquesio Arias is named and Néstor Vega, representative of the doctors on the board of the Social Security Fund, believes that Arias should separate while under investigation.

Rossana Uribe , president of the Panamanian Association for Family Planning (Aplafa) , no person who is investigated for committing sexual abuse against a child should be on the street and less in the National Assembly.

She said that the government system or apparatus failed these girls and adolescents from the beginning because those who were called to proceed with the investigation in these cases – The  Ministry of Health (Minsa) and  Ministry of Education - somehow did not comply with what they should have done.

Arias is under investigation by the Supteme Court in a process that involves two complaints. The first has to do with a child under 16, and the second, with a young woman of 22. The event would have occurred in Ustupu, in 2018.

In addition, in 2012 teachers of the Simran Colman school in Ailigandí sent a note to the Minsa after the doctor also allegedly sexually abused three girls who were part of a basketball team.

In both cases the Regional Directorate of the Minsa in Guna Yala was silent, and Arias continued attending until June 2019, when he assumed his seat in the National Assembly.

“These Gunas girls were not heard or were ignored at the time. The system failed because they are the girls of the other Panama. The system, in general, failed them when the Minsa did not assume the investigation against Arias after receiving the warning notes [of] the teachers in 2012, ”Uribe said.

The National Women's Council said:"We call on the Panamanian population to repudiate these acts considering their seriousness since they threaten the dignity of women and human rights," said this gender equality advisory body.

Néstor Vega, a representative of doctors and nurses on the board of the Social Security Fund, said that if there is already an investigation of Arias in Court, he must be separated while checking whether he is innocent or guilty.

He said "there are  doctor codes" and when it comes to minors, one of those rules is that the child or young person cannot enter the office alone.

Several of Arias' alleged victims point out that the doctor asked their  parents to stay out of the office.

Claude de López, Professor of Ontology and Bioethics of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Panama, agreed with Vega that Arias should be separated from the position, both as a deputy and as a doctor, while concluding the Court  process.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/system-failure-inquotthe-other-panama-girls-investigation-1

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