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Startseite Urgent Actions 2022 06 Repression of indigenous-led protests
UA 058/22
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Aktiv seit 15. Juni 2022 | Noch 42 Tage Laufzeit

Repression of indigenous-led protests

AI-Index: AMR 28/5712/2022

On 14 June around 0:29 a.m., security forces detained Leónidas Iza, president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, in the province of Cotopaxi. He was held incommunicado and criminally charged with «blockage of public services», before being released that night. His detention could have been arbitrary and the criminal proceedings against him could constitute criminalization of protest. Human rights organizations have made allegations of more arbitrary detentions, excessive use of force and criminalization against protesters. We urge President Lasso to stop stigmatizing, repressing and criminalizing peaceful protests, to disclose the whereabouts of and charges against all detainees, and to release those arbitrarily detained.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

On 20 May 2022, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) and other organizations announced that they would start mass protests on 13 June in response to austerity measures and alleged failures by Guillermo Lasso’s government to guarantee their economic, social, cultural and environmental rights. They also published an agenda with their main demands.

On 11 June, the Minister of the Interior, Patricio Carrillo, stigmatized demonstrators even before protests had taken place, stating that «The announced mobilization or demonstration, in practice, is a week of blocked highways and oil wells, kidnappings of police and military personnel, looting, etc. They will disguise it as a social struggle to provoke victimization. Who benefits from another protest without limits?»

On 13 June, CONAIE and other Indigenous, farmer peasant, labour, education, student, feminist, LGBTI and environmentalist organizations started protests. Many of these protests included blocking roads in different provinces. Since that day, human rights organizations in Ecuador have made allegations of arbitrary detentions, criminalization, and excessive use of force, including indiscriminate use of tear gas, against protesters, human rights defenders, and journalists across the country, including a student who was allegedly shot in the leg in Quito.

On 14 June at 0:29 a.m., a live streaming showed officers in Police and military uniforms detaining Leónidas Iza, president of the CONAIE, near Pastocalle, in the province of Cotopaxi, and pushing him into a white unmarked vehicle that later left the scene. Later that morning, Ecuador’s Human Rights Alliance complained that the officers who detained him failed to present an arrest warrant and to inform him of the grounds for his detention, that authorities concealed his whereabouts and kept him incommunicado, preventing him from contacting his family and lawyers, and that the plates of the vehicle (PTR-3246) in which he was transported did not appear on publicly available databases. This may indicate that his detention was arbitrary.

At 1:18 a.m., President Lasso posted a video, accusing protesters of committing crimes and threatening them with prosecution: «The detention of intellectual and material authors, who executed these violent acts, has started (…) We cannot be victims of vandals who only want to cause chaos (…) Now that we have begun reactivation, we cannot stop. Those who commit acts of vandalism will answer to justice and to the Ecuadorian people».

At 3:20 a.m., the National Police informed that it had detained Leónidas Iza in the parish of Pastocalle, Cotopaxi province, on «presumption of commission of crimes», without specifying the alleged acts he committed or the actual charges against him. The National Police also stated that he was being held at a «temporary custody room, for in flagrante delicto hearings».

At 9:22 a.m., the General Prosecutor’s Office informed that it had only became aware of Leónidas Iza’s detention through social media, and that the National Police had not presented him to its institution, nor had it provided the corresponding police report to explain the motivation of his detention. Finally, it stated that the General Prosecutor had issued guidelines to provincial prosecutors to coordinate actions and proceedings with «corresponding authorities» to prevent illegal or arbitrary detentions.

At 10:47 a.m., the General Prosecutor’s Office informed that it had received the police report of Leónidas Iza’s detention in flagrante delicto (detained at the very moment a crime is being committed) that early morning in the Cotopaxi province, and stated that the institution would follow the corresponding proceedings.

At 11:37 a.m., the National Police informed that Leónidas had been detained while he allegedly «directed and encouraged actions for the escalation and radicalization of violence», and that it had delivered the police report on his detention to the Prosector’s Office «first thing in the morning».

Later that day, Iza’s lawyers complained that them and his family ignored his whereabouts, but that information available on social media indicated he may have been transported from the Cotopaxi province to Quito in the unmarked vehicle, and then to a military facility in Latacunga, Cotopaxi province, in a military vehicle.

That night, Leónidas Iza’s in flagrante delicto hearing was held at the Specialized judicial unit for violence against women or family members and offenses against sexual and reproductive integrity, in the city of Latacunga. The judge ruled that his detention was legal and initiated criminal proceedings against him for the «blockage of public services», for this alleged participation in the obstruction of roads during the protests. This could constitute criminalization of the right to protest.

Ecuador’s Human Rights Alliance has identified at least 36 people detained between 14 and 15 June in Quito and Cotopaxi in the context of the protests.

 

Take action

  • Write an appeal in your own words or use the model letter below.

  • Take action on Social media: Infos see the yellow field on the right.

  • Please take action before 10 August 2022.

  • Preferred language: Spanish. You can also write in your own language.

Model letter

→ Model letter in spanish see below / Modelo de carta en español ver abajo


President Lasso,

I am writing to you to express my concern about the current repression of demonstrations led by Indigenous organizations in Ecuador. Since 13 June, we have received alarming allegations of arbitrary detentions, criminalization, and excessive use of force against protesters, human rights defenders, and journalists in different provinces. Ecuador’s Human Rights Alliance has identified at least 36 people detained between 14 and 15 June in Quito and Cotopaxi in the context of the protests. Your government has also issued stigmatizing statements against demonstrators and threatened them with prosecution.

In the early morning of 14 June, security forces detained Leónidas Iza, president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), near Pastocalle, in the province of Cotopaxi. He was held incommunicado for several hours, without access to his lawyers, and criminally charged with «blocking of public services». He was released that night. His detention could have been arbitrary and the criminal proceedings against him could constitute criminalization of the right to protest.

We urge you to immediately to stop stigmatizing, repressing and criminalizing peaceful protests, to disclose the whereabouts of and charges against all detainees and to release those arbitrarily detained.

Sincerely,

 

Model letter in spanish open here / Aqui modelo de carta en español

Señor Presidente Lasso,
Le escribo para expresar mi preocupación por la represión en curso de manifestaciones encabezadas por organizaciones indígenas en Ecuador. Desde el 13 de junio, hemos recibido denuncias alarmantes de detenciones arbitrarias, criminalización y uso excesivo de la fuerza contra manifestantes, defensores y defensoras de los derechos y periodistas en diferentes provincias. La Alianza por los Derechos Humanos de Ecuador ha identificado la detención de al menos 36 personas entre el 14 y el 15 de junio en Quito y Cotopaxi en el contexto de las protestas. El gobierno que usted preside también ha emitido declaraciones que estigmatizan a quienes se manifiestan y los amenaza con el enjuiciamiento.
En la madrugada del 14 de junio, fuerzas de seguridad detuvieron a Leónidas Iza, presidente de la Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador (CONAIE), cerca de Pastocalle, en la provincia de Cotopaxi. Leónidas Iza estuvo recluido en régimen de incomunicación durante varias horas, sin acceso a sus abogados, y fue acusado del delito de “paralización de un servicio público”. Fue puesto en libertad esa noche. Su detención podría haber sido arbitraria, y los procedimientos penales que se siguen contra él podrían constituir criminalización del derecho a protestar.
Lo instamos a poner fin con carácter inmediato a la estigmatización, represión y criminalización de protestas pacíficas, a revelar el paradero de todas las personas detenidas y los cargos formulados en su contra, y a poner en libertad a quienes hayan sido detenidos arbitrariamente.
Atentamente,

 

Appeals to

President of Ecuador
Guillermo Lasso
(Postal Address: Palacio de Gobierno,
García Moreno N10-43 entre Chile y Espejo,170401, Quito, Ecuador)

Email: atencionciudadana@presidencia.gob.ec; pozof@presidencia.gob.ec

 

Additional target

Diana Salazar, General Prosecutor
Twitter: @DianaSalazarM2
Email: salazarmd@fiscalia.gob.ec

Copies to

Botschaft der Republik Ecuador
Kramgasse 54
3011 Bern
E-Mail: secretaria@embajadaecuador.ch

 

→ Letter delivery to other countries - General info:
It is possible to send PRIORITY letters to almost all countries.
Please check
on the Website of the Swiss Post, whether letters are currently being delivered to the destination country.
If not, we ask you to use other communication channels (email, fax or social media, if available) for the delivery of your appeal and/or send it via the embassy with the request for forwarding to the named person.

Social Media Guide

Handles of target:

Twitter: @LassoGuillermo

Suggested message:

Ecuador: @LassoGuillermo stop stigmatizing, repressing and criminalizing peaceful protests, disclose the whereabouts of and the charges against all detainees and release those arbitrarily detained. #RepressionIsNotProtection

Follow:

Ecuador’s Human Rights Alliance
Twitter: @DDHH_Alianza
Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador
Twitter: @CONAIE_Ecuador

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