Failed Asylum Bid: Embattled Judge Faces Prison After Abandoning Vatican Embassy

Former Judge Francisco Arias Valera, who sought refuge  in the Apostolic Nunciature in Santo Domingo earlier this week, abandoned his plans to remain in the Embassy and now faces incarceration after embarrassing the Dominican Ministry of Justice.

Dominican prosecutors for a Court of Appeals in Santo Domingo are now claiming that Mr. Arias Valera violated the terms of his house arrest when he sought refuge in the Apostolic Nunciature, and want to send him to a place where he has allegedly sent many men who could not afford to pay him off.

The oldest Dominican daily, Listin Diario, reported that a decision on Mr. Arias Valera's freedom would be made on Wednesday, the 24th of August, but did not elaborate as to the reasons why the former judge abandoned his bid for asylum after less than a day.

It is possible that Mr. Arias Valera was denied asylum by his Holiness the Pope, but he told the large-circulation daily Diario Libre that he sought asylum in the Apostolic Nunciature because of his dire financial situation, and to disprove accusations that he took money in exchange for pardoning members of a gang of for-hire hitmen with ties to political figures. 

Mr. Arias Valera, who first alleged that he was seeking asylum after being pressured to implicate the former President of the Republic in a conspiracy to profit from pardoning suspects, now complains that his savings account has been frozen and that he's "financially suffocating."

Safer in prison than in his apartment. Diario Libre
If there was any weight to Mr. Arias Valera's assertions that President Danilo Medina and the President of the Senate, Reinaldo Pared Perez, were actively working to destroy the political future of their former party leader, those accusations are now clouded in doubt due to the former judge's revelations of his financial motivation for claiming asylum.

It may very well be the case that Mr. Arias Valera feels more safe inside of prison than outside, especially considering that he's a witness against the head of a hitmen mafia; his death could be easily attributed to his former confederates, but now all doubt will be on the President of the Republic, who may indeed be trying to stifle the political return of his predecessor and using an embattled judge to accomplish it.