Letter to the Prime Minister of Sweden

Letter to the Prime Minister of Sweden

Dear Prime Minister Stefan Löfven,

On April 11, Swedish national Ola Metodius Bini, a free software developer, was arrested in Quito (Ecuador). He has been living in the Republic of Ecuador for the past six years. Ola Bini is now serving a 90-day pretrial detention. He has not been afforded bail.

The case of Ola Bini has drawn worldwide concern. UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, David Kaye said that ‘nothing in this story connects Ola Bini to any crime’. Further, he said, ‘the govt of Ecuador must demonstrate more than that or this looks like an arbitrary detention’. The Organisation of American State’s Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Edison Lanza, added, ‘I share the Rapporteur David Kaye’s concern around the arrest and detention of digital activist Ola Bini’.

Amnesty International and Article 19 have publicly echoed this concern and are closely monitoring the case.

On April 11, Ola Bini was going to Japan for a martial arts training course, which he had advertised on twitter a week before. He was detained by the Ecuadorian police. In violation of due process, the police did not contact the Swedish authorities. This process is part of the standards of Ecuadorian law. After 15 hours of his initial detention, they made the contact.

Ola Bini’s human rights have been violated repeatedly by the police, by the Ministry of the Interior, by the Attorney General’s office and by the judge in charge of the case. The agents who initially detained him did not have a valid warrant. He was denied access to his lawyers for 17 hours. He was not permitted to have a translator – even though his Spanish is rudimentary. He was not informed of the charges against him.

Ola Bini was held at the airport for more than eight hours. In violation of Ecuadorian law, he was not transferred to the police facilities. The police then took him to his home, where they coerced him to allow access. Finally, he was taken to a facility abandoned by the judicial police, where he spent the night. By that time, he still did not have any access to legal advice or assistance.

The next morning – on April 12 – Ola Bini was transferred to the Prosecutor's Office, where he remained for a further 12 hours before a hearing. For a total of 17 hours Ola Bini was not allowed legal advice or food. His lawyers report that they were harassed and threatened by the police.

At the hearing, the prosecutor offered no evidence against Ola Bini. Based on the Ecuadorian Penal Code, he was accused of one very serious crime – attacking the integrity of computer systems. Despite the lack of any evidence, the judge placed Ola Bini in pretrial detention for 90 days. There was no bail hearing.

We believe that the process is politically motivated. Fabricated charges, with no evidence, have been brought against an innocent man. He has been caught in a dispute that does not concern him and with which he is not involved at all. There is not a single piece of evidence that incriminates him. Ola Bini sits in an Ecuadoran prison, denied bail, and with no guarantees of due process.

Ola Bini is a globally respected figure in the free software community, and a renowned activist for the right to privacy. In 2010, Computerworld magazine named him as Sweden's 6th best developer. He is a member of various European and international networks for free software and privacy, and he participates in projects of the highest level, some of them sponsored by the European Commission. Ola has never expressed any views that would in any way be a threat to the Ecuadorian government.

As an advocate and an activist for the right to privacy, Ola has visited Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London several times. However, he does not work for Wikileaks, nor has he ever worked for them. Any allegation that he is conspiring against the Ecuadorian government and its computer systems is false and ludicrous.

We appeal to the Swedish Government to take firm, immediate action. So far, the Swedish Government's efforts have been limited to the presence of the Swedish Honorary Consul in Quito. While we are grateful that the Swedish Honorary Consul in Quito involved himself we would ask you and the government to lift this to a political level, since it seems to be a political reason behind the arrest. We are sure that the misunderstanding about who Ola is and what he does could quickly be resolved. The Swedish Society and the Government of Sweden are recognized worldwide as active defenders and promoters of human rights and freedom of expression. His family, his friends, his colleagues, call on the Swedish government to intercede for Ola before the Ecuador authorities, demand respect for the law and for Ola’s human rights, and to facilitate his safe immediate return to Sweden.


Concerned citizens

Pamela Anderson / Actress

Brian Eno / Artist, Musician

Yanis Varoufakis / DiEM25 co-founder, Professor of Economics – University of Athens

Arundahti Roy / Author

Danny Glover / Actor

Dave Eggers / Author

Noam Chomsky / Institute Professor (emeritus) MIT, Laureate Professor U. of Arizona

Adolfo Perez Esquivel / Recipient Nobel Peace Prize 1980, Argentina

Evgeny Morozov / writer and researcher on social implications of technology

Srecko Horvat / Philosopher

Jean-Luc Mélenchon / French MP and President of the Parliamentary Group France Insoumise

Pablo Iglesias / General Secretary Podemos, presidential candidate, Spain

Mairead Maguire / Recipient Nobel Peace Prize 1976, UK

Vendela Vida / Author, USA

Martin Fowler / Software Development Author

Agustín Frizzera / Director - Democracia en Red -

Eli Gomez Alcorta / Lawyer of Milagros de Sala and diverse causes of defense of human rights

Gloria Verónica Sammartino / Professor - Universidad Buenos Aires

José Shultman / President of the Argentine League for Human Rights

Juan Grabois / CTEP leader and Patria Grande Front member. Coordinator of the dialogues of popular movements with Pope Francisco

Manuel Bertoldi / Patria Grande Front

Marga Ferré / President of La FEC, Foundation Europe of the Citizens

Scott Ludlam / Former Australian Senator

Tim Norton / Digital Rights Watch

Davide Castro / DiEM25, and Co-Founder World Solidarity Forum

Christian Leon / Political Innovation Asuntos del Sur

Wagner Moura / Actor, Director

Ariovaldo Ramos / Evengelical Front for a State of Rights

Bernardo Loureiro Jurema /

Carol Proner / Member of the International Committee of the Brazilian Association of Jurists for Democracy

Eleonora de Lucena / Journalist

Fabio Luis Barbosa dos Santos / Professor at UNIFESP University Brazil

Frei Betto / Dominican friar and writer

Heloisa Fernandes / Sociologist - Universidade de São Paulo

João Paulo Rodrigues / National Direction of MST and of Brazil Popular Front

Joao Pedro Stedile / MST and Via Campesina Brasil

Leonardo Boff / Theologian, Philosopher and Member of the International Earth Charta Comission

Marco Antonio Santos / Psychologist

Paulo Sergio Pinheiro / Former minister for human rights and former coordinator of the National Truth Commision

Rodolfo Lucena / Journalist

Valerio Arcary / Historian and Teacher - IFET São Paulo

Virgínia Fontes / Professor - University, Rio de Janeiro

Cory Doctorow / Author and co-editor, Boing Boing

Javier Arteaga / Director, Feeling

Nicolás Díaz Cruz / Executive Director, Extituto de Política Abierta

David Heinemeier Hansson / Danish programmer

Alfredo Velazco / Usuarios Digitales

Pavel Égüez / Muralist Painter

Rubén Zavala / Popular education professor, photographer

Sofía Celi / Technologist

George Danezis / University College London

Nicklas Andersson / CTO

Perti Sumula / Association - Friends of the MST

Antoine Deltour / Whistleblower

Frank Barat / Russell Tribunal

Ana Miranda / European Parliament MP, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance

Angela Richter / Director

Geraldine de Bastion / Konnektiv Kollektiv

Heike Hänsel / MP, Left Party Spokesperson on the Committee on International Relations of the German Bundestag

Heinrich Buecker / Coop Anti-War Cafe Berlin

Johanna Scheringer-Wright / Member of Regional Parliament of Thuringia (Mitglied des Landtages Thüringen)

Katharina Wojcik / DiEM25

Moritz Bartl / Renewable Freedom Foundation

Sevim Dagdelen / MP, Vice Chair Left Parliamentary Group of the German Bundestag

Walter Palmetshofer / Open Knowledge Foundation Germany

Dmytri Kleiner /

David Adler / Diem25

Eirini Mitsiou / Member of Coordinating Collective in DiEM25

Erik Edman / Sociologist, Activist, MEP candidate MeRA25

Renata Avila / Executive Director, Fundación Ciudadanía Inteligente

Birgitta Jónsdóttir / Former parliamentarian for the Civic Movement & Pirate Party in the Icelandic Parliament & chairman for IMMI (International Modern Media Institute).

N. Ram / Chairman of The Hindu Publishing Group, Chennai, India

P. Sainath / Founder, People’s Archive of Rural India

Prabir Purkayastha / President Free Software Movement of India

Vijay Prashad / Director, Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research

Y Kiran Chandra / General Secretary Free Software Movement of India

Clare Daly / Deputy to the Dáil (MP), Independents 4 Change

Mick Wallace / Deputy to the Dáil (MP), Independents 4 Change

Carlo Freccero / Author

Felice Cappa / Author, Director

Francesca Bria / CTO Barcelona and DECODE project lead

Lorenzo Marsili / Co-Founder European Alternatives

Khadija Ryadi / Laureate UN Human Rights Award 2013

Gustavo Banegas / PhD Student/Technische Universiteit Eindhoven

Maricarmen Sequera / Executive Director, TEDIC

Irvin Jim / General Secretary, National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA)

Richard Pithouse / Publisher - New Frame

S'bu Zikode / President of Abahlali BaseMjondolo

Zackie Achmat / UniteBehind

Alberto Garzón / Spanish MP and General Coordinator of United Left Party

Almudena Bernabéu / Human Rights Lawyer, Co-founder of Guernica 37

Enrique Santiago / General Secretary of the Spanish Communist Party, Human Rights Lawyer

Ernest Urtasun / European Parliament MP, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance

Estefanía Torres Martínez / European Parliament MP, Confederal Group of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left

Gerardo Pisarello / First Deputy Mayor Barcelona City

Javier Couso Permuy / European Parliament MP, Confederal Group of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left

José María Guijarro / Spanish MP and General Secretary of the Parliamentary Group of Unidas Podemos

Lola Sánchez Caldentey / European Parliament MP, Confederal Group of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left

Maite Mola / Vice President of the Party of the European Left (PEL)

Miguel Urban / European Parliament MP, Confederal Group of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left

Pablo Bustinduy / Spanish MP and International Secretary of Podemos

Tania González Peñas / European Parliament MP, Confederal Group of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left

Xabier Benito Ziluaga / European Parliament MP, Confederal Group of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left

Yolanda Cvitak / MundoJusto

Jimmy Nilsson / Founder of factor10

Jon-Erling Dahl / CTO / fooheads AB

Niclas Nilsson / CEO at fooheads AB

Zimoun / Artist, Switzerland

Ammar Amroussia / MP (Popular Front) Tunisia

Hamma Hammami / GS (Popular Front) Tunisia

Heikel Belkacem / MP (Popular Front) Tunisia

Jilani Hammami / MP (Popular Front) Tunisia

Paul Mason / Journalist and Decode advisory panel member

Aijaz Ahmad / Chancellor's Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature, University of California (Irvine)

Albert Leger / Artist/Activist

Anthony Arnove / Publisher

Colonel Ann Wright / Veterans for Peace and former UN Diplomat, who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the US war on Iraq

Cristina García / Novelist

Daniel Goodwin / Attorney

David Harvey / City University of New York

Jodie Evans / co-founder CODEPINK; Women for Peace

John Kiriakou / former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former Senior Investigator, US Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Joslyn Barnes / Film Producer

Mark Weisbrot / CEPR, USA

Medea Benjamin / co-founder CODEPINK; Women for Peace

Mishi Choudhary / Legal Director, Software Freedom Law Centre

Neville Roy Singham / Founder of ThoughtWorks, now retired

Patrick Linskey / Principal Engineer, Cisco Systems Inc.

Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II / Repairers of the Breach and Poor Peoples Campaign, USA

Shanti Marie Singham / Professor of History and Africana Studies, Williams College, Massachusetts USA

Stephanie Whited / Communications Director - torproject. Actor, Writer

Vivien Lesnik Weisman / Latinovision Productions

William E. Binney / Former Technical Director at NSA

Carolina Resende Haddad /

Seth Pyenson /

Affiliations are listed for identification purposes