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Ecuador: Autoridades deben vigilar el juicio contra el defensor digital Ola Bini

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Las autoridades de Ecuador deben garantizar un juicio justo y vigilar el respeto a las garantías del debido proceso en el caso del defensor digital Ola Bini, cuya audiencia de preparación de juicio por la presunta comisión del delito de “acceso no consentido a un sistema informático” se celebrará el próximo 5 de marzo en Quito, dijo Amnistía Internacional hoy.

“El gobierno debe abstenerse de acusar públicamente al defensor digital Ola Bini y de intimidar a su defensa, para que el juicio que enfrenta pueda ser verdaderamente justo. Las organizaciones de la sociedad civil seguiremos de cerca el proceso”, dijo Erika Guevara Rosas, directora para las Américas de Amnistía Internacional.

Las autoridades deben además garantizar la independencia e imparcialidad del proceso y evitar cualquier injerencia indebida en el mismo. En particular, el poder judicial debe verificar que cualquier prueba utilizada contra Bini haya sido obtenida con apego al derecho internacional. Asimismo, las autoridades deben reconocer la importancia y legitimidad del trabajo de Ola Bini y otras personas que defienden los derechos humanos digitales en Ecuador.

The government must stop publicly accusing digital defender Ola Bini and intimidating his defence team so that the trial he is facing can be truly fair. Civil society organizations will be closely monitoring the proceedings
--- Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International

As part of its mandate, the Ecuadorian Ombudsman’s Office, a national human rights institution, can “carry out and promote the monitoring of due process, in legal or administrative terms, in cases where possible violations of human rights have occurred”.

The work of people like Ola Bini who defend the right to privacy on digital media is fundamental for the protection of human rights around the world. In raising awareness of the existence of weaknesses in information systems, both public and private, human rights defenders have contributed to the improvement of digital security for society as a whole. In addition, the guidance that they have provided to journalists, activists and human rights defenders has been vital for them to be able to carry out their important work freely and safely.

“Amnesty International has documented violations of due process that could mean that the case against Ola Bini is unfair and make clear, once again, the need to implement a national policy so that all people in Ecuador can freely and safely work to defend human rights,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas.

On 11 April 2019, Bini was detained by police after the now minister of government, María Paula Romo, publicly accused him of "cooperating with attempts to destabilize the government." On 16 April, at a public event in Washington, D.C., President Lenín Moreno accused Bini of having been “discovered hacking government and individual accounts and hacking telephones.”

Amnesty International has documented violations of due process that could mean that the case against Ola Bini is unfair and make clear, once again, the need to implement a national policy so that all people in Ecuador can freely and safely work to defend human rights
--- Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International

On 20 June, after 70 days in custody, a court ordered Bini’s release after recognizing that his detention was illegal and arbitrary, in violation of his rights to personal freedom and a fair trial. On 6 September, the Attorney General’s Office violently raided the home of Fabián Hurtado, the independent information technology expert witness in the case against Bini and seized his electronic equipment. Amnesty International expressed concern that this operation could have been intended to intimidate Ola Bini’s defence team.

On 25 September, during an interview with CNN, President Lenín Moreno publicly accused Bini of having interfered “not only in the politics of Ecuador but in world politics”. On 9 January 2020, Carlos Soria, Ola Bini’s defence lawyer, took photographs and reported on social media that alleged police officers were outside Bini’s house using a telephone monitoring device.