November 2, 2018
Mr. Andrew Gilmour,
UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights
And Head of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
New York, NY
We are a group of Ecuadorian immigrants in the United States and Canada come together to demand the freedom and preserve the rights of the deposed, legitimate vice president of Ecuador, Jorge Glas Espinel, who is on the 13th day of a hunger strike and whose health is rapidly deteriorating. We want to express our absolute rejection to his arbitrary transfer to the Social Rehabilitation Center of Latacunga during the night of October 21, which precipitated the vice president’s decision to start his hunger strike. (See attachment 1)
Jorge Glas Espinel, the now former vice president, was elected by popular vote to the post for the period 2017-2021. The former vice president was implicated in the Odebrecht corruption scandal based exclusively on the false testimony provided by one of the Odebrecht executives who admitted to participating in the corruption scheme and who provided his testimony as part of a cooperation agreement with the Ecuadorian Attorney General to obtain a more lenient sentence. The Attorney General’s Office claimed at the time that the Odebrecht executive would not be prosecuted in Ecuador since he had already been tried in Brazil for the same charges. That claim, as many others by the Ecuadorian Attorney General’s Office throughout the trial, proved false.
The former vice president himself requested that the National Assembly lift his immunity to prosecution, so that he could prove his innocence in a fair trial. The National Assembly did so, allowing the former vice president to be tried on a specific charge. Yet, the former vice president was tried on and convicted of a different charge. He was sentenced under a superseded penal code, only because the sentence under that old code was six years, as opposed to the five mandated by the superseding penal code. The new penal code also mandates that sentences of up to five years could be indefinitely suspended, which would have allowed Jorge Glas to resume the duties of the office to which he had been elected.
On September 20th, 2017, the judge ordered a review of the preventative measure which forbade the former vice president from leaving the country. That measure had been in place since August 29th, 2017, and had not been violated. The judge, during a hearing on October 2nd, 2017, ordered that the preventative measure be replaced by pre-trial detention and issued an arrest warrant that was effectuated that same day. The Attorney General’s Office had until October 1st, the day before, to conclude its preliminary investigation. The former vice president was stripped of his post by a simple memorandum from President Lenin Moreno on January 4th, 2018. Moreno argued the vice president’s “permanent absence” from his post as the reason for his removal. All these measures are inconceivable under the rule of law.
Jorge Glas’ transfer to the Social Rehabilitation Center of Latacunga is clearly a retaliatory measure (see attachment 2) for the political asylum request filed by Fernando Alvarado, Secretary of Communication during the government of the previous president, Rafael Correa. It is important to highlight here that the legal cases of the former Secretary of Communication and that of Jorge Glas are completely separate and have nothing to do one with the other. Jorge Glas never represented a flight risk; his transfer took place at night and neither he, nor his lawyers or relatives, had the required, 48-hours-in-advance, notice. He was not allowed to see his lawyers or relatives immediately before the transfer. All this confirms that his transfer was just a vindictive and arbitrary measure.
Jorge Glas suffers from hypertension and other ailments, which are now aggravated by his decision to go on a hunger strike as a warning and appeal to the world to turn its eyes to the grave situation of defenselessness in which he finds himself.
The signatories come to you, in your capacity as the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, to plead with you that the former vice president’s situation be investigated and that the violations of his rights be reverted.