Prison sentence for Costa Rica park ranger raises questions about on-the-job protections

By Jill Replogle

UPDATE: Thursday, Sept. 3, 3:45 p.m. 

Juan Diego Castro, the highly-regarded criminal lawyer who was representing park ranger Mauricio Steller on a pro bono basis has resigned from the case. We are working to bring you an update on this breaking development.

Original story continues below.

On a moonless night in 2009 two Costa Rican park rangers set off to patrol Playa Carate, a remote beach near Corcovado National Park in the Osa Peninsula. They tramped silently through the darkness until four people, illuminated by their glowing flashlights, caught their attention.

It was September, sea turtle nesting season, and the rangers had orders to search anyone walking the beach at night to check for poached turtle eggs. It should have been a routine search, but when the rangers approached the group and introduced themselves, they were greeted with hostility.

“I know who you bastards are,” one man said. Then he pushed one of the rangers, 24-year-old Mauricio Steller, and pulled a machete from his belt. The other two men also drew machetes and threw themselves at the rangers. As Steller dodged blows from his assailants he could smell alcohol on their breath.

Steller’s partner swung his rifle around, but the gun was jammed. He pointed it at the attackers … continue reading

Via:: Tico Times