Freed from prison after claiming police abuse, pair want CPD help with visas

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Gabriel Solache held a news conference Monday outside the Thompson Center. | Andy Grimm/Sun-Times

Two men who were freed from prison after a Cook County judge ruled they were likely beaten into confessing to a 1998 double murder now want the Chicago Police and state’s attorney to help them get visas reserved for crime victims.

Arturo DeLeon-Reyes and Gabriel Solache were released from prison in December after prosecutors dropped the case against them.

But the two men — who entered the U.S. illegally from Mexico years before they were arrested for the murders of Mariano and Jacinta Soto — were immediately handed off to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and shipped to detention facilities.

Now, both men want help from law enforcement to help them obtain a “U visa,” which would allow them to stay in the country based on their status as crime victims. The crime, immigration attorney Van Huynh said, was that the two men were beaten by CPD detective Reynaldo Guevara.

“The crime here would be either torture or wrongful imprisonment,” Huynh, said at a press conference Monday outside the Thompson Center. “Signing a certification for will state the facts of this case and recognize the torture that both men were subject too.”

The two men are among the 14 defendants whose convictions have been overturned based on allegations of abuse or misconduct by Guevara, who worked as a gang detective on the Northwest Side for decades.

Guevara, who in recent years has refused to testify under oath about the allegations, last year took the witness stand in Solache and DeLeon-Reyes case with a grant of immunity from State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office and federal prosecutors.

Guevara testified that he could not remember virtually anything about the Soto case, but denied hitting either Solache or DeLeon-Reyes during their interrogations or falsifying their statements confessing to the crime.

Prosecutors grudgingly dropped the case, and maintained that Solache and DeLeon-Reyes still were guilty of the crime, making it seem unlikely that they would be willing to aid the two men’s case.

Chicago Police might also have reason not to endorse the men’s claims of abuse: DeLeon-Reyes in February filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the CPD and Guevara.

DeLeon-Reyes returned voluntarily to Mexico in December, and an immigration court judge in January granted Solache bond.

ICE officials have summoned Solache for an interview on April 2, and Huynh said that she is concerned he may again be taken into custody if he isn’t granted a visa.

Solache, who spent 20 years in prison, including two on death row, said he would like to be able to travel freely in the U.S. and to Mexico while settling his affairs.

“I was a victim of violence by Det. Reynaldo Guevara. I want to return to my home country, but first I would like to take care of my business here without worrying about immigration,” Solache said. “After all I’ve been through, I think I deserve that.”

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