Lawyer crosses the line

Civic organization Participacion Ciudandana (PC) and the Foundation for Institutionalism and Justice (FINJUS) expressed their regret that lawyer Felix Olivares Grullon had chosen to abandon his role in the civic society movement to join the defense council of ex-Captain Quirino Ernesto Paulino Castillo, the alleged leader of a narco-trafficking ring. Paulino Castillo is under arrest for his suspected involvement with a 1,387-kilo shipment of cocaine valued at more than RD$900 million. Hoy newspaper reports that PC and FINJUS made separate statements to express that taking up the defense of a drug trafficker was “incompatible” with the role of civic society organizations, although the heads of both groups said they would respect Olivares Grullon’s choice. Alfonso Abreu Collado, the spokesman for PC, stated that civic society groups must draw their combat lines against certain activities, and that drug smuggling was certainly one of them.

The man in question has been an outstanding civil society activist and, until last week, was an advisor to the chief of the National Police in matters of the new Penal Procedures Code, of which he was one of the authors. Olivares Grullon was a principal advocate of police reform and a member of a penal reform commission that was sponsored by USAID.

Hoy reports that the lawyer will allegedly receive a multibillion-peso offer to defend Paulino Castillo.