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David Strecker, aka Cuba Dave Acquitted

David Strecker, aks Cuba Dave (right) with his lawer Luis Diego Chacon. Photo from Cubadave.com

Q COSTA RICA NEWS – Found guilty of promoting sex tourism in Costa Rica, David Strecker, aka Cuba Dave, is today a free man.

Strecker, a U.S. citizen, is the first (and only so far) person convicted under Costa Rica’s relatively new ‘Sex Tourism Law’. Last November, the then 66-year-old was found guilty of violating

Last November, the then 66-year-old man was found guilty of violating a 2012 (up to then untested) law for promoting the country sex tourism destination and enjoy the benefits of legal prostitution.

The three judge panel convicted Strecker to a five-year sentence. Strecker has been in preventive prison (remand) since Sept. 4, 2015.

According to a report in Cubadave.com, on Friday, August 18, 2017, Dave Strecker walked out of a prison in Costa Rica, a free man, acquitted by a trial court in San Jose. Judicial authorities now have 15 days to appeal the court’s decision.

Strecker is expected to remain free, even if he must face a third trial. A resolution is expected by August 24th.

Strecker’s lawyer, Luís Diego Chacón, confirmed the release Friday afternoon, saying the San Jose court refuted the evidence presented by the prosecution at trial.ruled that the evidence presented by the prosecution did not maintain a logical relationship with the accusation. He also explained that Strecker had no knowledge of the laws of the country and their changes being out of the country for at least four years, during which the new law that he was accused of violating was enacted.

Chacon explained Strecker’s absence from the country for at least four years made him unaware of the changes in the laws, like the law he was accused of violating and convicted.  The lawyer added the prosecution could not prove that the publication of photos and videos on the internet (his website and social media) was directly by Strecker.

Strecker’s freedom may be short-lived, however. Under Costa Rica’s judicial process rules, the authorities can appeal the decision and order a new trial, which they have been known to do. And there is no limit on the number of times a case may be appealed and tried. See here.

According to a report by Amcostarica.com, “The acquittal, if it sticks, is a major embarrassment for Costa Rica’s judiciary. The law, passed in February 2013, violated most international standards on free speech. The Poder Judicial has confirmed that the Fundación Rahab was the organization that initiated the criminal case. Fundación Rahab has been the recipient of a number of federal grants for work with prostitutes in San José and Jacó.

According to Cubadave.com, “when asked about his feelings on the case, Dave thanked the supporters who donated money to help with legal fees. He regrets missing his mother’s funeral, who passed away while he was in prison. He regretted that his friend Dennis Eaton also died of cancer. Dennis collected the donations via Paypal and brought food to Dave while he was imprisoned at the San Sebestian prison.”