Nathalia Aguilar / EFERonaldinho and Assis leave the Public Ministry of Paraguay

Decision announced by the Paraguayan Supreme Court on Wednesday may further complicate the situation of Ronaldinho Gaucho and his brother, Assisi, arrested in Asunción since the last 6 days after using false passports to enter the country. Because of the new coronavirus pandemic, the suspension of Judiciary activities across the country was extended until April 12.

This means that only basic services will continue to function and resources presented by Brazilian lawyers in an attempt to get them out of jail may take even longer to be tried. “There is a lot of uncertainty here. Let's see how the days go. Due to this coronavirus problem, any definition is too risky, ”said the lawyer for Ronaldinho Gaúcho and his brother, Adolfo Marín.

The Brazilians are being held at the Agrupación Especializada de la Policía Nacional, a barracks turned into a maximum security prison in the Paraguayan capital. To prevent the spread of the coronavirus, visits to prisoners on the spot have been prohibited since last Tuesday. Only lawyers can enter the jail. Even so, nurses do the checks at the barracks door. Anyone with respiratory problems, cough, fever or flu is vetoed. Prisoners were also examined daily. Paraguay registered until Wednesday three deaths and 51 people infected with the new coronavirus.

The country's borders are closed, but if Ronaldinho Gaúcho and his brother manage to get out of jail they would not be prevented from returning to Brazil. “The entry of foreigners is restricted, but the exit is not,” explained the director of the Immigration Department of Paraguay, María de los Ángeles Arriola Ramírez.

Paraguayan government officials, however, do not believe in this possibility. “Everything will depend on the court and the measures that will be applied, such as whether to authorize it or not to leave the country. But I think it is unlikely that Ronaldinho will return to Brazil soon, since the Court of Appeal pointed out the difficulty of extraditing him if he goes to Brazil, ”said Justice Minister Cecilia Pérez.

The contents of Ronaldinho Gaúcho's and his brother's cell phones are being investigated by prosecutors, who hope to know whether or not they have a connection with a criminal organization structured to falsify documents and specializing in money laundering. The prosecutor's suspicion is that the two are part of a broad scheme. The gang would count on the participation of businessmen and civil servants to facilitate the operation of illegal businesses in the country.

The lower court's decision upheld by an appeal court holds that the former player and his brother must remain in custody for the duration of the investigations. Under Paraguayan law, the investigation can last up to six months.

Judges point to a risk of flight and obstruction in investigations if Brazilians are transferred to house arrest. The defense of Ronaldinho Gaúcho and his brother claims that the two were deceived and did not know that their passports had been tampered with.

* With information from Estadão Content


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