Former Costa Rican president sentenced to jail on charges of corruption

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Rafael Calderon, the former president of Costa Rica, was sentenced to five years in prison after he was convicted of corruption while in office.

Calderon, who served as head of state from 1990 to 1994, is the first ex-president to be tried for corruption. He had been arrested in October 2004, charged with taking an illegal commission after the government bought medical equipment from Finland. Calderon denied the charges.

The former president was convicted on Monday. The head of the social security programme under Calderon, Eliseo Vargas, was sentenced to five years in jail as well. Prosecutors had originally wanted a 24-year jail term for Calderon.

The judge hearing Calderon's case, Alejandro Lopez McAdam, refused requests by the prosecution to send Calderon to jail immediately, pending the outcome of an expected appeal.