Dominican Judge Seeks Refuge in Vatican Embassy, Claims Conspiracy Against Former President

 Conspiracy against former Prez? Acento
A Dominican judge, under house arrest for "selling sentences" to individuals accused of crimes, has sought refuge in the Vatican Embassy in Santo Domingo, claiming that the current President of the Republic is forcing him to confess that former President Leonel Fernandez was also involved in selling sentences for cash.

The digital portal Acento reported today that Francisco Arias Valera read out a statement from behind the gates of the Apostolic Nunciature in Santo Domingo, alleging that the Dominican Public Ministry of Justice wants him to confess to crimes which he did not commit, and to also implicate the former Attorney General of the Republic.

Mr. Fernandez was responsible for bringing the Dominican Liberation Party to power in 1996, but his successor Danilo Medina is the one in control now, after amending the Constitution to seek re-election despite having promised not to do so.

Mr. Medina also announced a successor even before he was inaugurated for a second term just last week, possibly explaining the current political crisis engulfing the small Caribbean nation. Mr. Fernandez could announce his plans to run again, thus squashing Mr. Medina's succession plans. 

If the allegations by former Judge Arias Valera are true, and even if they are not, his words could plunge the Dominican Republic into uncertainty that could lead to a full-blown insurgency against the state. 

The presidential elections this past May were criticized by the entire opposition, who alleged fraud, and the nation saw extremely violent riots that could appear tame if Mr. Fernandez decides to seek the presidency in 2020.
According to Judge Arias Valera, President Medina and his successor Reinaldo Pared Perez are pushing for him to confess to crimes involving Mr. Fernandez, indicating heavily that the objective here is to eliminate Mr. Fernandez years before his presidential aspirations are made public. 

Judge Arias Valera, in his statement to the media from behind the gates of the Apostolic Nunciature, asked his Holiness the Pope that he accept his petition for asylum. 

The Vatican has not yet issued a statement.