Ola Bini arrested in Ecuador
Ola Bini, privacy advocate and free software developer, is being detained as a political prisoner in Ecuador.
Ola Bini Innocent
A political persecution that should never have happened
A case forged by political actors
On April 11, 2019, after a press conference held by the former Minister of the Interior, María Paula Romo, Ola Bini was illegally, illegitimately and arbitrarily detained at Quito’s International Airport. The former minister accused him of being Russian, and also a member of WikiLeaks who collaborated with Julian Assange in Ecuador, who had tried to destabilize the government of former President Lenín Moreno.
After spending 70 days in prison, he was released thanks to a Habeas Corpus that declared that his detention was illegal and that his fundamental human rights were violated by the State. Even so, with the intervention of Moreno’s government, Ola was accused, first, of attacking computer systems and, later, of accessing a computer system of the National Telecommunications Corporation (CNT) without consent, but not in 2019, but, supposedly in 2015.
Victory: Ola Bini is declared innocent
The criminal process initiated in 2019 was flawed by dozens of violations of due process and Ola's rights, in each and every one of the judicial stages. Because of this, and because of the relevance of the case for the validity of digital rights, more than 100 national and international civil society organizations have spoken out publicly against the accusations and twenty of them formed a Permanent Observation Mission. In addition, the RELE-CIDH has warned Ecuador about the way in which the process has been carried out.
With such antecedents, a tribunal of first instance, unanimously, declared the innocence of Ola Bini on January 31st. In their oral argument, they claimed that neither the Attorney General's Office (FGE) nor the CNT presented any type of evidence that could prove the commission of any crime. Moreover, the Court found that the FGE witnesses themselves argued that there were no indications that Bini would have accessed any system without consent.
And now? An irrational and out of step appeal
Ola Bini is innocent. The facts say so. This is supported by national and international civil society. This is how national and regional human rights organizations understand it. This is what the press admits. This is also what the Justice has said. However, the Prosecutor's Office and the CNT, irrationally and against the grain, have announced that they will appeal the ruling in question.
In the coming months, a new Court will summon the parties to an appeal hearing to analyze the sentence issued in the first instance and rule on its content. Once again, all the social actors will be watching what is decided and its implications. In this context, we should remember: not only the life of an innocent person is at stake, but also the validity of digital rights in the country.