Constitutional court accepts reporter’s appeal

The Sala IV has accepted an appeal filed by reporter Rommel Téllez. The appeal asks Fuerza Pública to return an illegally seized memory card that contains sensitive contacts and information that could harm third parties if not handled properly.

The appeal, 16-5521, was assigned to Magistrate Paul Rueda, who already sought a detailed report on the incident from Juan José Andrade, director general of the Fuerza Pública.

Téllez was held against his will for filming police activity in Barrio California early Friday morning.

He said that once captured no legal protocols were followed, the secrecy of his cellphone was violated, the memory card was removed and the phone was reset to factory settings.

Judicial investigators also have started an investigation upon Téllez complaint.

“I’ve never heard of police breaking in the secrecy of a reporter’s files,” he said. “That’s the uncontrolled government forces trying to push new boundaries, but I will lawfully defend what I believe should be strong limits.”

The case has also received the support of the Instituto de Prensa y Libertad de Expresión which may join the appeal as an interested party, according to a spokesperson.

Andrade and Gustavo Mata, the head of the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública were not available.

Téllez, a frequent contributor of news articles to A.M. Costa Rica, said he happened to be in the area when he saw an estimated 16 police officers stopping and frisking other persons in the area. They also were believed to be entering nightspots to question people found there. When he began working and recording the activity, his cell telephone was slapped from his hand from behind and officers began to take him into custody.

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