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Montevideo, June 6th 2023 - 09:24 UTC



Ecuadorian indigenist leader released from jail

Wednesday, June 15th 2022 - 22:38 UTC
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New road blockades were reported at several spots nationwide after Iza's release New road blockades were reported at several spots nationwide after Iza's release

An Ecuadorian judge has ordered the release from custody of indigenist leader Leónidas Iza after spending almost 24 hours in a detention facility.

Iza, chairman of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie), was released early Wednesday morning, following his arrest Tuesday in the province of Cotopaxi, where he joined a protest against neoliberal measures by the administration of President Guillermo Lasso.

The indigenist rebels were staging a road blockade when the arrests were made in flagrante delicto, since the authorities claimed the demonstrations were paralyzing public services. The Interior Ministry also accused Iza of calling for an upsurge in violence.

Although Judge Paola Bedón declared Iza's detention legal, she ordered other measures in lieu of preventive detention, such as a ban from leaving the country and reporting two days a week to the Public Prosecutor's Office.

According to article 346 of Ecuador's Penal Law, the paralyzation of a public service is punishable by one to three years in jail.

“Leonidas Iza Salazar free!,” Conaie celebrated on Twitter. “After 24 hours of illegal detention and due to social pressure in the framework of the #ParoNacional the judge orders his immediate release,” the organization went on. “The mobilization continues with the 10 issues raised, thanks to all the shows of solidarity,” the indigenist movement also pointed out. “Long live the social struggle!”

After his release, Iza made it clear that they would continue with the mobilization in defense of the ten demands made by the people to the Government. “Nobody here has come out to defy the law,” Iza insisted. “We have only come out because hunger and injustice have taken over our homes.”

“We have been told that we are sabotaging and carrying out terrorism because poor people have come out to fight, but the law protects the rich who have their economic resources in tax havens,” he added.

Iza also claimed his imprisonment was part of the political persecution against him by the Government. “We were never in flagrant crime, but that was not accepted by the Prosecutor's Office ... because it is surely pressured by the Government.”

Thousands of members of indigenous communities paraded through Quito Tuesday evening calling for Iza's release. The protesters also demanded that President Guillermo Lasso changes his economic policy, arguing that it has brought on more poverty and inequality and directly affects them.

New road blockades were reported at several spots nationwide Wednesday, while the United Nation's mission to Ecuador “urges unrestricted respect for constitutional and legal guarantees for the exercise of social protest,” and that the rules of due process be applied to those detained in the framework of the national strike.

Read also: Ecuador's native groups to up protests after leader was arrested


Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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