Prosecution to continue Yuniol Ramirez murder case even if family desists

Yuniol Ramirez / Listin Diario

The Specialized Anti-Administrative Prosecution Agency (Pepca) says it will continue to carry the Yuniol Ramirez case in court, even if the family members desist of the charges. The family says that after long hours of interrogating new witness Argenis Contreras, the prosecution continues to accuse Manuel Rivas, the former director of the state bus company, Omsa, his financial director Faustino Rosario and businessman Eddy Santana Zorilla only with corruption charges and not with complicity in the actual murder. In the file prepared for the case, National District Rosalba Ramos had removed the murder charges against these.

The defense lawyer of Argenis Contreras holds a similar position to that of the family of Yuniol Ramírez, complaining that only the lesser culprits are being charged in the present accusations file instrumented when Jean Alain Rodríguez was the attorney general and now under the prosecutors headed by attorney general Miriam German Brito.

The Ramirez family says that state university UASD law professor Yuniol Ramirez was murdered in 2017 for trying to denounce corruption at the Omsa.

Pepca Prosecutor Mirna Ortíz says that the murder case, as well as the charges of corruption in the Metropolitan Office of Bus Services (Omsa), are of public action, which empowers the Public Prosecutor’s Office, as the prosecuting body of the State, to continue with the criminal action.

She said that Ramirez’s relatives have not formalized their withdrawal of their accusations before the Second Collegiate Court of the National District judges. Judges of that court need yet to decide on the unifying of the cases relative to the crime. The case has been postponed to 24 February 2022.

Pepca prosecutors are asking the court to summon the family members for the next hearing to guarantee their right to be present in the judicial process.

In announcing the abandonment of the charges in a press conference, the family representatives said that the accusations made so far are corrupt, a cover-up and are made with the sole intention of achieving the impunity for former Omsa director Manuel Rivas, Omsa financial director Faustino Rosario, and businessman Eddy Santana Zorrilla. They criticized that despite spending five days interrogating witness Argenis Contreras, the chief prosecutor, Wilson Camacho, did not broaden the accusations received from prosecutor Rosalba Ramos to include charges against Rivas, Rosario and Santana for the murder of Ramirez. These have only been charged with administrative corruption.

The case dates back to 12 October 2017 when it was made known that 45-year old state university law professor Yuniol Ramirez had been murdered. His corpse was found in a ravine in Santo Domingo West. He had been reported missing the day before. He was allegedly killed because he had intended to reveal a corrupt network operating at the state bus company, Omsa, directed then by Manuel Rivas.

When charges were finally brought, the Public Prosecutor’s Office under prosecutor Rosalba Ramos did not establish Rivas’ link to the murder, only administrative corruption.

For their participation in Yuniol’s crime, Argenis Contreras and his partner Heidy Peña were charged. Also José Mercado Blanco (El Grande), Víctor Ravelo Campos (El Herrero), Jorge Abreu, and Lilian Suárez Jáquez. Of this group, only El Grande, El Herrero and El Taxista are in prison.

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12 January 2022