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Tell ICE: Free Santiago NOW! La Resistencia demands the immediate release of Santiago Ortuño Perez who has been incarcerated for a crime he did not commit since 2013. The following is a letter Santiago shared with us to be released to the public:
"To: The Public
My name is Santiago Ortuño Perez. I am Hispanic and lived in the Seattle WA area. I want the public to know the following:
It is my story of suffering 8 years of incarceration, a false murder conviction and being sentenced to 23 years in prison all because relevant evidence was purposely kept secret from me throughout the whole legal process.
In the year 2013 I was arrested and falsely accused of murder. My accuser's name is Zachary Christopher Parks. I was arrested in October 12, 2013. The person who was shot and died was shot with a .22 caliber gun. One or two months later a gun was confiscated from my accuser Zachary Christopher Parks. The gun confiscated was a .22 caliber Jennings handgun. I was falsely accused by Zachar Parks and the fact that a .22 caliber gun was confiscated from him within a matter of weeks was kept secret from me for the next 5 years.
The attorneys representing me were Daniel Norman and Chris Jensen. Both of them failed to find and bring the evidence to light. The prosecutors office was requested to hand over all relevant evidence of the case and all records of Zachary Parks and knowingly sealed Zachary Parks' file and claimed there was nothing relevant.
I went through the whole court trial process being falsely accused and ended up being wrongly convicted. The conviction was reversed by the 9th circuit appease court and a new trial was ordered. By then I had been locked up 5 years and new attorneys were appointed to represent me. The new attorneys were Christopher Curney and Isitt.
Christopher Carney was the first person to make me aware that Zachary Parks had a .22 caliber gun confiscated from him just weeks after falsely accusing me. Christopher Curney requested examination of the .22 caliber gun.
Washington State Patrol claimed the gun went missing and was irretrievable. The new trial ordered was set to begin but before it began the King County prosecutors office dismissed the case. It was now 2019 and I was released from the King County Jail.
I wish the story ended there but it does not. After being released I went home. That same week I was arrested by ICE and since then have been detained at the Northwest ICE Processing Center in Tacoma. My legal status expired while I was incarcerated under a false murder accusation. I am still in detention facing deportation because I was falsely accused.
I want the public to know that all this would not have happened to me if the legal system would have followed the law and handed over the evidence proving my innocence. Instead the system and whoever was in charge of those positions chose to keep the evidence secret from me for the sole purpose of keeping me locked up as long as possible. To their convenience.
I wonder how many people in the world are falsely accused and detained against their will and remain incarcerated for a decade if not longer.
I wonder if the evidence had not been kept secret from me, I wouldn't have gone through this hell.
I am still incarcerated to this day of 3/10/2021 facing deportation and I wonder will there be justice for me? I am at 8 years of incarceration and I wonder how much longer it will be like this.
I, Santiago Ortuño Perez, give consent to make my story know to the public.
Santiago Ortuño P.
Para un traducción a Español: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NYtlzV95qhCSGH6l1Uo0nHIr_PqFNsfDjCVf_Qi6cNA/edit?usp=sharing
Why is this important?
With HB1090 now law, we need to empty the NWDC! We cannot and will not wait for the contract to end in 2025. No one should be locked up in a detention center during a global pandemic and Santiago should never have been incarcerated to begin with. The NWDC is not a safe place for anyone, it is impossible to social distance, guards often do not wear masks or gloves and there is no contact tracing for ICE employees coming in and out of the facility. As long as he is detained Santiago's health and safety are at risk. Tell ICE to release Santiago immediately!
Con la ley HB 1090, ¡necesitamos vaciar el NWDC! No podemos y no vamos a esperar que el contrato termine en el 2025. Nadie debería estar encarcelado en un centro de detención durante una pandemia global y Santiago no debería haber sido encarcelado para empezar. El NWDC no es un lugar seguro para nadie, es imposible guardar la distancia social. Muchas de las veces los guardias no usan máscaras o guantes y no hay rastreo de COVID para los empleados que entran y salen del edificio. Mientras que siga detenido la salud y seguridad de Santiago están en riesgo. Demanda a ICE que liberen a Santiago inmediatamente!