Swedish digital rights activist Ola Bini during an interview with EFE in Quito, Ecuador, on 19 November, 2019. EFE-EPA FILE/Elias L. Benarroch

Ecuadorian human rights groups appeal to lift restrictions on digital rights activist

Quito, Nov 20 (EFE).- Human rights groups in Ecuador appealed to the country’s judiciary to lift restrictions on Ola Bini, a Swedish digital rights activist and a friend of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, after he was declared innocent in January of charges of illegally accessing a computer system.

The Regional Human Rights Advisory Foundation (Inredh) said in a statement Monday that Bini’s defense had requested the lifting of all precautionary measures imposed on him, including the freezing of his accounts and a ban on leaving the country.

Inredh pointed out that Bini was required to periodically appear before the attorney general’s office to prove his presence in the country despite being declared innocent on Jan. 31, 2023, of unauthorized access to the National Telecommunications Corporation’s (CNT) computer system.

The group said that Bini’s defense has called on the Ecuadorian authorities to comply with the judicial tribunal’s order that declared him innocent and lift all precautionary measures against him.

Inredh said that in recent times, Bini was denied entry into the attorney general’s office with the explanation that “it is understood that he no longer needed to appear” although the judge on the case is yet to confirm this.

“We call on the corresponding Ecuadorian authorities to clarify Bini’s procedural status and his obligation or not to appear periodically before the FGE (State Attorney General’s Office),” Inredh said in the statement.

Continuing precautionary measures against Bini and preventing him from complying with them violates “his basic rights” and alerts civil society about “the legality and legitimacy” of the widely questioned judicial process.

Bini was arrested on Apr. 11, 2019, hours after the government of Ecuador withdrew Julian Assange’s asylum in its London embassy.

His arrest came after Ecuadorian minister, María Paula Romo, accused Bini of allegedly having participated in activities seeking to destabilize the country.

However, due to lack of evidence to back the accusations, Bini was finally charged with illegally accessing computer systems.

The Ecuadorian prosecutors suspected that the Swede had accessed CNT’s computer system without authorization in order to try to obtain information from the digital platforms of the oil company, Petroecuador, and the former National Intelligence Secretariat.

Bini’s defense has criticized irregularities in the judicial process on several occasions. EFE

fa/up-pd