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REPUBLIC OF ECUADOR:
SENTENCED AFTER POSSIBLE UNFAIR TRIAL

Update info:
24 Dec 2015
Country:
REPUBLIC OF ECUADOR
Subject:
Protestors at demonstration in Quito, Ecuador
Gender m/f: Both
Period:
22 Jan 2016
Distribution date:
24 Dec 2015
UA No:
285/2015

Twenty-one people among those detained during anti-government protests in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, have been sentenced following concerns of violations of their right to a fair trial. Amnesty International received reports during the protests of excessive use of force and clashes between the security forces and protestors, as well as arbitrary detentions.

On 3 December demonstrations took place in Quito to protest against a series of proposed constitutional reforms. Scores of people, including police officers, were injured and 32 detained amid concerns that the police used excessive force and arbitrarily detained demonstrators and passers-by. As the Ecuadorian National Assembly approved controversial constitutional reforms at around 6pm, clashes broke out between the police and protestors. The Interior Ministry reported 13 police officers were injured after being hit by sticks and stones.

On 4 December, 21 of the detainees were sentenced to 15 days’ imprisonment and a $USD 200 fine. There are concerns that they did not receive a fair trial and were charged in spite of the lack of any credible evidence against them. According to human rights NGOs representing the detainees, the public prosecutor did not present any evidence to prove beyond any reasonable doubt the individual responsibility of any of the accused. Most of them were passers-by and none were identified by the police officers as their assailants.

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

On 3 December the Ecuadorian National Assembly voted in favour of 15 constitutional amendments proposed by the executive, which included authorizing the use of the military to respond to internal public security situations, and enabling the indefinite re-election of the president and other authorities.

Amnesty International has raised concerns in the past about the Ecuadorian authorities’ efforts to clamp down on anti-government protests using excessive use of force and unfounded criminal proceedings against those who voice criticism against government policies, as there seems to be a deliberate attempt to curb the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

In August, nationwide protests took place led by trade unions, Indigenous Peoples’ organizations and civil society groups to protest against a range of government policies, including those on the use of natural resources, the agreed Free Trade Agreement with the European Union and the proposed constitutional amendments. These protests were marked by clashes between the security forces and protestors and reports of excessive use of force and arbitrary arrests by the security forces.

UA: 285/15 Index: AMR 28/3054/2015 Issue Date: 11 December 2015

Take action

Please write immediately in Spanish, English or your own language:

  • Calling on the authorities to release the 21 people, unless they are tried in proceedings which meet international standards of fairness;
  • Acknowledging that while the state has a duty to maintain public order, it should never use excessive force and must guarantee the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and fair trial;
  • Calling for prompt and impartial investigations into all allegations of excessive use of force and arbitrary detentions, and for those found responsible to be brought to justice.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 22 JANUARY 2016 TO:
President of Ecuador
Rafael Correa Delgado
Presidente de la República
Garcia Moreno N10-43 entre Chile y Espejo, Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador
Twitter: @MashiRafael
Salutation: Dear President / Señor Presidente

Minister of Justice
Dra. Ledy Zúñiga Rocha
Ministra de Justicia, Derechos humanos y Cultos
Av. Colón entre Diego de Almagro y
Reina Victoria. Edif Torres de Almagro.
Quito, Ecuador
Salutation: Dear Minister/ Señora Ministra

And copies to:
Local human rights organization
Comisión Ecuménica de Derechos Humanos (CEDHU)
Carlos Ibarra 176 y 10 de Agosto
Edificio Yuraj Pirca Piso 9
Quito, Ecuador
Email: cedhu@cedhu.org

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.