Jesús Tranquilino Vélez Loor, an Ecuadorian citizen, was held under arrest on November 11th, 2002 at the Tupiza police station, in Darien, Panama, for not carrying the necessary documents to stay in the country. The warrant was issued by the National Director of Migration and Naturalization of the Ministry of Government and Justice of Panama. This led to Vélez Loor’s transfer to the public prison of La Palma. A few weeks later, he was sentenced to a two-year prison term for entering the country illegally on several occasions. However, he did not receive any notification of the decision and was subsequently transferred to another prison named “La Joyita”. After ten months in detention, Vélez Loor was given a plane ticket to leave the country. The National Director of Migration decided to reverse the sentence, and Velez Loor was deported back to Ecuador.
During his imprisonment, Mr. Vélez Loor was kept in inadequate conditions. Despite having committed a migratory infraction, he was detained with people convicted for common crimes. Furthermore, Mr. Vélez Loor was a victim of torture and mistreatment by state agents. While these acts were reported after his deportation, they were never investigated. To this day, more than seven years after judgment was passed and 15 years after the facts of the case, justice has not been served. In addition, the Panamanian State has not progressed regarding its policies on the treatment of migrants living in shelters or the sensitivity training of officials who work and operate them.