c) Testimony of Arsenio Joel Barrios Báez,former inmate at the Center The witness entered the Center for the first time in 1997. He was 14 at the time. The young man said that the Center was a “disaster.” When he entered the Center, no physician examined him; the entire time he was there, he was never convicted. He was able to see an attorney and was eventually released. In 1998 he was placed there again; there had been a theft in his neighborhood and he was blamed because he had a criminal record. That time, he was there for one year and had an attorney. Then, when he turned 20, he was moved to the Tacumbú Penitentiary. They have already given him his freedom three times, but an official has told him that he has three other cases pending, and so they have not yet release him.
He was asleep when the February 11, 2000 fire broke out, and was badly burned. He spent a month in the hospital. On the day of the fire, some of the inmates were already dead by the time a guard opened the door. The firefighters came two hours after the fire broke out. One of his friends had been given his freedom on paper back in December 1999, but they had not yet released him. By now, he doesn’t want to think about the Center anymore.
He asked the Court for his freedom and for justice for what happened at the Center. He also asked to be given a chance, as he has already spent time in a number of prisons.