Annual Report: Puerto Rico 2013

Report
May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Puerto Rico 2013

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Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

Head of state Barack H. Obama

Head of government Luis G. Fortuño

Parts of a new penal code curtailed the right to protest. A Justice Department investigation into abuses by the Puerto Rico Police Department remained ongoing.

Freedom of expression

Civil liberties groups criticized a provision in an updated penal code as infringing the right to freedom of expression. The code, which came into force in July, includes a section criminalizing demonstrations that block public buildings and interfere with local government. The measures would outlaw protests such as those that had taken place in recent years at the University of Puerto Rico and at the Capitol (the building housing the legislative assembly). A legal challenge to the provision, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union in Puerto Rico, was pending at the end of the year.

Police and security forces

Negotiations to reform the Puerto Rico Police Department were ongoing, following a 2011 US Justice Department report on widespread, systematic abuses.