Writing in the influential Dominican daily, El Nuevo Diario, journalist Carlos Lara said the intimidation and persecution of Judge Ana Lee Florimón and her family by “an unidentified group within the Public Ministry” is “regrettable and unacceptable and should receive all the repudiation of Dominican society.”

Lara said the prosecutors responsible for persecuting the judge “don’t understand the importance of judicial independence”, in which judges make decisions “that may not please their particular interests because they are based on the law and do not seek the populist condemnations befitting a socially morbid show.” 

In late February, Judge Lee Florimón announced she is being persecuted by prosecutors seeking to remove her from an investigation, and Attorney General Miriam Germán Brito ordered an immediate investigation. The Institutionality and Justice Foundation (Finjus) quickly released a statement demanding an investigation that reaffirms judicial independence.

This scandal followed a condemnation of the Public Ministry last November from U.N. Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) which concluded its prosecutors practiced arbitrary arrest in violation of international human rights obligations. The U.N. body singled out prosecutor Yeni Berenice as the “protagonist” of a “public discredit campaign” that she “orchestrated” from the Public Ministry during an investigation. Berenice has also been implicated in the alleged persecution of Judge Lee Florimón, leading Attorney General German to promise the prosecutor would not participate in the investigation.

Lara concluded that Judge Lee Florimón’s complaint “should embarrass the entire Public Ministry” and he hopes the investigation is “fair, balanced and free of manipulation, since what was reported by the judge is worrying and dangerous for democracy and the independence of the judiciary.”

To read Carlos Lara ‘s full op-ed in El Nuevo Diario, click here.