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Dominican Republic: USA Says Government Disrespects Judicial Independence

The Department of State of the United States affirmed yesterday that despite the fact that in the Dominican Republic the laws establish an independent Judicial Power, the Government did not respect judicial independence and impartiality, but that the influence on judicial decisions was widespread.

In its report on human rights published yesterday, it indicates that the interference of the Executive Power ranged from selective prosecution to the dismissal of cases amid accusations of bribery or undue political pressure.

“Corruption of the judiciary was a serious problem and the most frequent form of interference with court orders occurred when the authorities refused to comply with the remedies of habeas corpus to release the detainees,” the report states.

The Department further indicates that despite the fact that the Government took some measures to punish officials who committed human rights abuses, there were widespread reports of serious corruption and impunity, especially among senior official officials.

Violation of rights. Another aspect highlighted by the State Department report is the one that refers to the right to privacy, violated by police officers, who according to the report, “carried out illegal searches and seizures, including many raids without a warrant in private residences in poor neighborhoods.”

He said that human rights groups, opposition politicians and journalists alleged that the Government used unauthorized wiretapping, monitored private emails and other surreptitious methods to interfere with the private lives of individuals and families.

Intimidate journalists. Regarding freedom of expression, the Department said that although people can criticize the government publicly and privately without retaliation, incidents occurred in which authorities intimidated members of the press.

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