Letter from Pat: The System Must Change
I am very happy to let everyone know that after 183 days I have been released from Preventia. To this day, I still have not been charged with any crime and no evidence has been presented against me. I was held for over 6 months with no probable cause, and no right to a speedy trial or even an evidential hearing.
This experience has opened my eyes and my heart to the incredible injustices occurring every day in the land of Pura Vida. As many of you know, I wrote a letter speaking of these injustices and it was displayed on CostaRicaInjustice.com. Also, many of you sent emails to key contacts in Costa Rica speaking of my situation. After that time, I noticed a few small steps in a positive direction. I have no idea if my letter or your actions played any role but within a week of the letter going up on the website, the cells in Perez Zeledon were reduced by approximately 15 men per cell. I also noticed a different demeanor from many of the guards. They seemed to be genuinely more concerned for the welfare of the men held in Preventia.
These are small steps, but at least some changes have started to occur. The real problem continues to be deeply rooted in the Judicial System of Costa Rica. The concept of Preventia is an abortion of justice, and Costa Ricans make up the great majority of victims. Many of you reading this are from the United States or Canada and you would NEVER experience this type of human rights violation in your home country. I am reminded of MLK Jrs quote Injustice anywhere is a threat to Justice everywhere. The system is evil and needs to be overhauled immediately. I have already started working with human rights groups and attorneys to help promote change.
Throughout my ordeal I was very fortunate to have the unbreakable support of my family and friends. To everyone who called, sent emails, prayed or simply sent good vibes my way, THANK YOU.
The legal side of this ordeal will soon be over, but the fight against evil and for justice will be a lifelong affair.