On April 3, José Carlos Pérez Legelen, 43, attempted suicide by setting himself on fire. He had had problems with his partner, with whom he was 14 years ago and they had two children (12 and 6 years old) and that, according to the family, triggered the attempt at self-elimination; She filed a complaint of domestic violence and a day later he was charged and admitted to the Center for Admission, Diagnosis and Referral (CIDD).
At 7:10 a.m. on April 5, his lifeless body was found.. According to the report of the Forensic Technical Institute (ITF), she hanged herself with a fleece jacket in her cell. According to the administrative record of the Prosecutor’s Office, the body was found by an official, who informed the head of service who, in turn, also notified her superiors.
As a result of this fact, Pérez Legelen’s family will sue the State for “non-pecuniary damage” for his death, since they understand that “there is a causal link between the wrongful act and death,” said his lawyer, Nicolás Pereyra. “The illicit act of the Prosecutor’s Office was, in this case, having charged someone who was at that time in a state of momentary incompetence” because of the “state of depression in which he was”, in addition to the fact that he was also “under the influence of pills he had taken”, he added. “There he is accused, they did not see the momentary incompetence, it is an inexcusable error,” said the lawyer.
Likewise, the lawsuit will also go against the Ministry of the Interior for negligence in the care and protection of the inmate.
According to Pereyra, in addition, since the forensic report determined the case as a suicide, the Scientific Police understood that “there are no elements that suggest an illegal act”, so prosecution made the decision to file the file in July without investigating beyond the case.
The lawyer indicated that he is drafting the preparatory measure for the trial together with the family; It is a “pre-demand” that requires the defendant State agencies —the Ministry of the Interior, the Prosecutor’s Office and the ASSE— to provide all the information available regarding the case in order to later advance in the trial. It will be presented to the State the week of next Monday the 8th, he said.
Nicolás Pereyra, lawyer for the families suing the State for moral damages, negligence and omission of the State
Nevertheless, It is not the first time that a case of these characteristics has occurred, in view of which the State has not provided the corresponding information..
Last Monday there was information about Marcelo Ayala, a 20-year-old with psychiatric disorders who died in the former Comcar and whose father filed a lawsuit against the State for “moral and psychological damage”. But Pereyra narrated two more cases in which the authorities have not yet collaborated with the corresponding information.
The first of them was Valentín Bautista Berro: according to the pre-demand document drawn up by Pereyra, he “was found in a coma” in his cell of Module 10 of the former Comcar on April 12, 2019. He was transferred to the Pasteur Hospital, where he was diagnosed with “irreparable brain damage”, and the family found out about the transfer “by pure chance” through another inmate of the National Rehabilitation Institute (INR); “No one contacted them, when they went to visit him he was not there, so the inquiries began to find his whereabouts,” the text reads.
Days later, on July 1, Berro died in the aforementioned health center. “The family still does not know what happened, they know absolutely nothing about the investigation that the INR carried out, nor about their son’s medical history “, according to the text. Thus, the lawsuit estimated non-pecuniary damage at US$300,000.
The second case corresponds to Christian Joel Mederos Silva, who died in Unit No. 2 as a result of an electrocution on January 22, 2019. The family sought the lawsuit, also for US$300,000, for “the lack of service of the Ministry of the Interior in the omission of security in prison management which caused the outcome to be inevitable”, according to the preparatory measure. Likewise, the family urged the Prosecutor’s Office and the aforementioned Secretary of State to provide the available information, particularly also regarding the qualification of UTE and the maintenance of the electrical network of the penitentiary center.
However, according to Pereyra, both preparatory measures “were not answered or investigated accordingly”. In the case of Berro, the prosecutor of Flagrancia Carlos Negro classified him as “self-eliminating”, so “it is not appropriate to account for the facts” and “it does not confer a crime”, according to the file; No other investigative measures were ordered, “not even to determine responsibilities within the prison establishment,” Pereyra said. Meanwhile, in the case of Mederos, the cause was “accidental” and when the prosecutor Mirta Morales “wanted to investigate further, they came in the Comcar and said ‘it was an accident, we closed'”.
In both cases, the families and the lawyer are waiting for the answers from the State to continue with the trial, but they have not received a response.