Local rights groups take on Russian’s case

A Russian fraud suspect, having exhausted his remedies in the judicial courts, is now trying to win his case in the court of public opinion.

This has worked before in Costa Rica where emotions frequently trump the law.

The Russian is Evgeny Konstantinovich Otto. A press release Tuesday said that Otto will be the subject of a press conference today to outline his case. He has been on a hunger strike for a week, said the press release. He has been in jail for three years.

The press release included a summary, said to be written by the suspect himself, in which he said “I was warned by my lawyer that if I return to Russia I will be arrested and jailed, that’s the reason why I asked for political asylum to Costa Rica.”

He notes he has been fighting extradition for seven years and has filed a slander suit against Mario Zamora, who has been both immigration director and security minister.

Otto has gone so far as to appeal his treatment here to the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights, which declined to act on his behalf.

In his letter, Otto alleges that political asylum is for sale here.

” . . . Human rights’ defense is a big lie in here, and it really is not the image what this country pretends to project to the international community. I didn’t know either that in Costa Rica ‘political asylum’ means sometimes shelter but another times means a big lucrative business where they negotiates extradition in interchange of huge investments and donations, highly profitable and absolutely safe.”

He did not name names.

Otto was a businessman in Russia and he is accused of using his executive position in a company to enrich himself.

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