FIFAGate: Napout stays locked up as Judge Chen considers Covid-19 compassionate release

July 21 – A New York court has delayed deciding on a request for compassionate release from prison by former Conmebol president Juan Angel Napout (pictured).

The former football official, 62, had petitioned court to obtain an early release from prison because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Paraguayan is serving a nine-year sentence in the FIFAGate scandal. Napout is being held at the low-security Federal Correctional Institution in Miami and following a rise in Covid-19 infections in the prison his lawyer requested compassionate release for Napout.

But US District judge Pamela K. Chen has delayed her decision. “That is certainly a significant factor, and I understand why the defendant thinks it substantially strengthens his argument for compassionate release, but I still do not feel that compassionate release is warranted at this time,” said Chen.

She also pointed out that compassionated release “has historically been intended to redress situations where an inmate is actually suffering from frequently a fatal disease or imminent death.”

In April, the court had dismissed a similar request from Napout. This time Napout’s representative argued that the new lockdown rules for the prison population have led to harsher conditions for the former Conmebol president. He is allowed to leave his cell just 100 minutes a week instead of 14 hours a week.  His lawyer insists that Napout is not being treated fairly and pointed at the fact that his client has hypertension and also takes drugs against both anxiety and depression.

Judge Chen scheduled another hearing for July 29 and has asked that Napout be tested for the coronavirus in the meantime. With court adjourned, the judge will also assess the social distancing rules and other containment measures at the prison.

In 2017, Napout was convicted on the count of racketeering conspiracy and two counts of wire fraud conspiracy. His appeal was dismissed in June. His release date is set for August 2025.

World federation FIFA has banned the Paraguayan for life from the game, but Napout is appealing that decision at CAS.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1606825241labto1606825241ofdlr1606825241owedi1606825241sni@o1606825241fni1606825241