Judges have ruled that a man who hid in the woods for 22 years after being convicted of murdering his wife in Argentina must be freed.
Ramón Ángel Abregu, now 70, had escaped from a prison van in 2001 after being sentenced to 20 years behind bars for shooting and killing his pregnant, estranged wife.
He came out of the rainforest where he had taken refuge last year and turned himself in, and now the courts have decided to let him free because his “prescription expires.”
Abregu appeared in the same courtroom where he was convicted in 2001, claiming immunity from being sent back to serve his sentence.
His lawyer, Alejandro De la Riva, confirmed: ‘The statute of limitations is 20 years, which is the time in which he managed to remain a fugitive living in hiding.’
Ramón Ángel Abregú, now 70, escaped from prison months after being sentenced to 20 years for shooting his wife, Eva Falcón, in the city of Río Grande, in the far south of Argentina, in January 2000.
He said his client had already served his sentence because “being a fugitive is like serving a sentence.”
And now, the Justice of Tierra del Fuego confirmed his freedom by declaring the case statute barred on February 27.
The decision was made by the Rio Grande Criminal Chamber of the Court of Appeals, but must be approved by Argentina’s Superior Court of Justice before Abregu can be released.
Police and prosecutors are keeping him in custody while they decide whether he can be legally sent back to prison or released.
Abregu had been hiding in the rainforests of the Salteño Chaco, in the wild north of Argentina, home to pumas, deer and vampire bats.
The murder occurred in the city of Río Grande, in the extreme south of Argentina, in January 2000.
On the day of the attack, local news sources detail that Abregú attacked Falcón – who was seven months pregnant – with a 9 millimeter caliber pistol in her home.
Wounded, Falcón managed to escape and took refuge in the guard room of the Cemep Clinic, where Abregú caught up with her and killed her with four more shots.
In February of the following year, it is known that Abregú escaped from a Margen Sur prison hiding in a truck bound for Chile.
All these years Abregú remained hidden in the jungle, in the Chaco Salteño, and managed to re-enter the province of Tierra del Fuego without being detected by any authority on Wednesday, according to an Argentine newspaper. Clarion.
Abregú remained hidden in the jungle, in the Chaco Salteño, and managed to re-enter the province of Tierra del Fuego without being detected by any authority on Wednesday, according to the Argentine newspaper Clarín.
Pictured: The clinic where Ramón Ángel Abregu, 70, killed his pregnant wife Eva Falcón in Río Grande, Argentina, in January 2000.
They said that he appeared in court to request the prescription of the case, while his lawyer, Alejandro De la Riva, revealed that Abregú passed through two Argentine and two Chilean border crossings ‘furtively’ and without documents.
‘The statute of limitations is 20 years, which is the time during which he managed to remain a fugitive living in hiding. He served his sentence that way,’ De la Riva would have explained to the Fuegian media.
But the process may not be so simple and there are some legal issues surrounding what happened to be resolved, sources from the intervening criminal prosecutor’s office told Clarín.
‘They regulate the precepts of international law treaties adopted by the country and could be applied to deny freedom to this person,’ they said.
Despite having one of the highest deforestation rates in the world, the Chaco Salteño is an important agricultural frontier with more than six million hectares of forest.
It is home to significant ethnic and cultural diversity, including small ranchers and indigenous peoples.