An A.M. Costa Rica reprint
Published Thursday, July 17, 2008, in Vol. 8, No. 141

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Contents copyrighted 2008 by Consultantes Río Colorado S.A. (cédula juridica 3-101-290-170).  Republication without permission is prohibited under U.S. and Costa Rican laws and international conventions.

Public agencies support her
High court suspends extradition of Ms.Tomayko

By Elise Sonray
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff
(posted at 2:10 p.m.)
The Sala IV constitutional court ruled Thursday to suspend the extradition of Chere Lyn Tomayko in order to review a new habeas corpus appeal, said a court spokeswoman.

Ms. Tomayko was due to leave the Hatillo detention center at 4 p.m. and be flown back to the United States from Juan Santamaría airport, according to immigration police. U.S. marshals were here to accompany her. The court now has five days to review the habeas  corpus case filed Wednesday morning by public defenders, said Andrea Marín Medina, the spokeswoman.

Ms. Tomayko was indicted by a federal grand jury in Texas for international parental kidnapping eight years ago. The constitutional court ruling was made at 7:50 a.m. The court document suspending the extradition said that the judges will review the claim that Ms. Tomayko is married and therefore a Costa Rican citizen. The court will also investigate the claim that she has two daughters who are of Costa Rican nationality.

Earliler story below

By Elise Sonray

and the A.M. Costa Rica staff

While two U.S. marshals spent the night in the Central Valley in anticipation of extraditing Chere Lynn Tomayko today, those participating Wednesday night in a rally in the lobby of the Corte Supreme de Justica had other ideas.

Ms. Tomayko is the woman who spent 10 years as a fugitive in Costa Rica and who faces a U.S. federal charge of parental child abduction.

The gathering Wednesday night was a publicity event staged mostly for the local television stations. Earlier the Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres, the Defensor de los Habitantes, Ms. Tomayko's daughters and the Defensa Pública had filed legal papers.

The habeas corpus by the Defensa Pública seeks to block the extradition today with the claim that Ms. Tomayko gained Costa Rican citizenship when she married her long-time companion here, Javier Francisco Montero Umaña, a Heredia veterinarian, April 6. The Costa Rican Constitution forbids extradition of citizens, but it also says foreigners married to Costa Ricans have to wait two years and pass certain tests to be naturalized.

The public defender's brief carries the name of Gabriela Cordero Zamora, the defensora pública, and Marta Iris Muñoz Cascante, director of the office. The brief, directed to the Sala IV constitutional court, also notes that the couple have two children, Anna Sofia, 8, and Arianas Nicole, 5.

That brief was filed about 1 p.m. Wednesday. This is the fourth constitutional court appeal filed on behalf of Ms Tomayko, who has been fighting extradition for 10 months. She has been in prison.

Jeannette Carrillo Madrigal, executive president of the women's institute, and Daniel Soley Gutiérrez, an assistant defensor de los habitantes, directed their appeals, drafted Wednesday, to the Tribunal de Juicio de Heredia. That is the court that issued the final extradition order Tuesday morning. Both Ms. Carrillo and Soley say that the extradition should not be carried out while a request for refugee status by Ms. Tomayko still is pending.

Ms. Tomayko claims that her former boyfriend, Roger Cyprian, abused her physically and emotionally, which is why she fled Texas with their daughter Alexandria, 10 years ago. The act of defying the Texas court was what brought the federal parental kidnapping charge. For a time Ms. Tomayko was on the F.B.I.'s 10-most-wanted list. Curiously, she was living in Costa Rica with the full knowledge of U.S. Embassy officials at least since 2002. Embassy officials seem to have delayed arresting her until Alexandria turned 18 and would no longer be returned to Cyprian. She now is 19.

The appeal by older daughter Chandler and Alexandria Tomayko was to the constitutional court. They claim that their younger sisters were not adequately represented during the extradition process. The appeal, written in the form of a letter, is emotional: "We consider that our little sisters have the right to live and grow with a mother as good as the one that we have had."

Ms. Carrillo raised the issue of the young sisters in a opinion column published in La Nación July 6. She said then that Ms. Tomayko would be at risk to be murdered if she were returned to the United States.

Roger Cyprian, via e-mails, has denied abusing Ms. Tomayko and said she left because a Texas court awarded both of them joint custody of Alexandria. He wrote Wednesday night that his efforts to tell his side of the story have fallen on deaf ears at La Nación. He said he contacted the  newspaper three times without a reply. He does not speak Spanish.
sisters in Montero familiy
A.M. Costa Rica/Elise Sonray    
Chandler Tomayko and Alexandria Tomayko
give a TV interview Wednesday night.

He also said he wrote to a La Nación columnist and Ms. Carrillo but never got a reply.

Cyprian said he had hired a lawyer here in an attempt to tell his side.

Ms. Carrillo was assisted Wednesday night by an individual who identified herself as a press person. She provided copies of the appeals.

Ms. Carrillo, an appointee of President Óscar  Arias Sánchez, said Wednesday night that she hadno reason to talk to Cyprian. "There is no reason at all to talk to him," she said.

"In these types of cases one must take the defense of the victim.  I know the case plainly. I've spoken with the family and Ms. Tomayko. The aggressor always lies in situations like these. It's the cycle of violence."

Cyprian's older daughter by another woman, Brenda J. Cyprian, 28, of Fort Worth, Texas, said last week that she was an eyewitness to the three-year period when her father, Roger Cyprian, was supposed to be physically abusing Ms. Tomayko. Instead, she said, the two had almost no contact because they were not living together.

When asked why Ms. Tomayko did not seek police protection if Cyprian was abusing here, Ms. Carillo said: "It's very normal.  It was out of fear. We have to remember this was 10 years ago. Women didn't have the same resources then as we have today.   There's so much fear in cases like these. I've known cases in which the victim files a complaint, and he kills her.  It's not easy to file a complaint without support from someone."

The women's minister was convinced that the extradition would not take place:

"She will not be extradited. We are sure she won't be. I believe in my government and the legal system of my country. I trust in the law. She is not going to be extradited."

The family and the minister have embarked on a public relations campaign after legal appeals failed. Extradition is covered by international treaties and parental abduction is a hot-button topic. The family has been interviewed by nearly all daily newspapers and have appeared on television several times. None of the news outlets has contacted Cyprian or the Texas judge involved. Most have not mentioned why she was a fugitive.

The family did not contact A.M. Costa Rica, which has been covering the story for six years. Montero, Ms. Tomayko's husband, was heard to say in English into a cell telephone Wednesday night at the supreme court building: “A.M. Costa Rica is here. They are trash.”

The newspaper has said repeatedly that the proper place for the case to be heard is in a Texas courtroom where there already is extensive documentation from psychological and family relations experts and the parties to the dispute themselves.

The newspaper also has said that Ms. Tomayko appears to have had significant help from embassy employees and others here and that such contacts should be investigated to see if U.S. laws have been broken.

Cyprian said Wednesday that a judge terminated all of Ms. Tomayko's parental rights in 1999 and awarded him a judgment of $350,000 plus interest. Ms. Tomayko also was supposed to pay him $500 a month in child support for Alexandria until she reached 18. That was when Ms. Tomayko already was a fugitive in Costa Rica.