Wednesday, Jun 23, 2021

Panama will create a registry to monitor "sex offenders"

Panama will create a registry to monitor "sex offenders"

The creation of the so-called Official Registry of Sex Offenders is covered by a bill approved by the National Assembly, which must be sanctioned by the president, Laurentino Cortizo.
The Panamanian authorities seek to create a registry of "sexual offenders" that aims to give the State "greater clarity" about the people who have committed this type of crimes and prevent their recurrence, at times when cases of abuse involving minors and even politicians shock the country.

The creation of the so-called Official Registry of Sex Offenders is supported by a bill approved by the National Assembly (AN, Parliament), with an official majority, which must be sanctioned by President, Laurentino Cortizo.

This registry "will contain detailed information on persons of legal age who are convicted or are serving sentences, by means of a duly firm sentence, for crimes against freedom and sexual integrity in its various forms," ​​according to the bill.

"In this list, people can find out who has committed these heinous crimes. We realized, especially in the case of shelters, that people who had been convicted of abuse, for libidinous acts, were working with minors," said the official deputy Zulay Rodríguez, promoter of the project.

A parliamentary report released last February indicated that dozens of minors in state-supervised shelters have been victims of sexual abuse and mistreatment since at least 2015, which generated outrage in the country and numerous protests to demand punishment for the guilty.

The Prosecutor's Office has open several investigations, some since 2018 according to official information, into cases of sexual abuse, mistreatment and administrative irregularities in the shelters. About twenty victims have already been identified, and one of the six people charged, so far, has been convicted.

Another case that has generated controversy is that of the official deputy Arquesio Arias, who was in house arrest from October 2019 until last week, when in a trial he was exonerated of the crimes of carnal rape and libidinous acts against two women, a ruling that it has provoked harsh criticism of the justice system and some street protests.

According to the data of the Prosecutor's Office, the complaints "Against Freedom and Sexual Integrity" registered a growth in recent years, with 6,256 in 2018 and 6,883 in 2019, and a fall in 2020 (5,469), which experts award to restrictions on mobility imposed during part of the year due to the pandemic.


The Official Registry of Sex Offenders, which will be in charge of the Judicial Investigation Directorate, will contain detailed data of people convicted of sexual crimes, trafficking in minors and trafficking in persons for the purpose of sexual exploitation, says the project. legislative.

The registry will be updated and verified every six months, and the "offender" must notify ten days in advance of any change of address.

The objective of the list is to serve as a database to be consulted by "justice operators and their auxiliary body" and for the "issuance of certificates of non-sexual aggressor", which will be necessary to work with minors.

The employer, company or institution that works with minors has the "obligation" to request a "Certificate of Non-Sex Offender", otherwise fines between 5,000 and 10,000 dollars may be imposed, according to the legislative project.

"With this law we want to seek prevention of these cases. We have to recognize that in some cases, people commit this type of crime due to disorders, conditions or pathologies. This is known as situational crime prevention," explained one of the promoters, Juan Diego Vásquez.

The registry intends that "the State has greater clarity about who are sexual offenders, establish very specific preventive policies that do not allow these people to be in spaces near minors, that the State can keep a registry where you can see where they are," specified Vasquez.

Even so, the sociologist and gender expert Eusebia Solís questioned this bill under the following premise: "Is it fair for someone who has already paid a sentence to continue in a registry?"

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