Last week, a friend of mine asked me to provide her with transportation to one of the principal police stations where she would renew her identity document. We first had to go the local town hall to obtain a current certificate acknowledging that she was a resident of our town, and then we drove to the appointed police station. We arrived a few minutes early ,which was enough time to get some pictures. With those in hand she and I went into the waiting room, and within five minutes her name was called, whereupon she went to the desk, and out of my sight.
She was gone a long time. They called the names of several people after her who went in and came out with the documents they required. Where was she? Finally she emerged, accompanied by three policemen. She had been arrested and was being marched off to be processed and sent to jail for six months.
Whatever Spanish I thought I knew escaped out the window. I just did not understand. I still don't understand.
She has never been to court over any matter and heard a judge sentence her to time in prison, so why is she now locked up as a common prisoner in a women's prison? It seems that the matter stems from something that occured several years ago. She was engaged in an unpleasent event with a person who apparently accused her of theft. A warrant was issued for her arrest, of which she was not aware. She has continued to live in the same house for those several years, so you might wonder why no policman ever came to her house to take her in.
To apply for important documents, such as identification cards or passports we must all attend at a police station. Apparently, at that time they search the master data base for information, and if there are any outstanding matters against you that is when they are going to be resolved.
What a shock! I'm only talking about myself. For her I can only imagine that she must have thought it was all a walking nightmare.
The question remains: How can we find ourselves locked up in a prison with common criminals without going through the courts? I can see being held in detention in a jail cell at the police station while enquiries are being made, but to be held in a prison while serving a sentence of a specified time period without the order of a judge just blows my mind.
Evidently it can be done, and presumably it is legal. I have never heard of it being done anywhere else in the modern world, but then I am no expert of judicial matters, nor have I ever had the need for such information.
Sometimes I have to wonder how justified is it to feel safe and secure in my everyday life. I have suddenly found myself in a hospital emergency room, but that is entirely different.
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