Ecuador: Free Guadalupe Llori

Guadalupe Llori is an opposition governor of the Ecuadorean province of Orellana who was arbitrarily imprisoned on charges of “sabotage” and “terrorism” for leading a non-violent protest. Upon designating Llori a prisoner of conscience pursuant to an investigation, HRF led a campaign decrying the illegal imprisonment of the governor, which successfully resulted in her 2008 release. The report submitted by HRF to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, pleading the activation of its urgent action procedure to facilitate Llori’s immediate release, may be viewed here.

On November 29, 2007, days before Llori’s arrest, President Rafael Correa issued a decree declaring a state of emergency in Orellana. He publicly accused Llori of being the leader of the Dayuma protests, which tried to boycott oil production in the region to obtain the government’s commitment to complete a long-promised road and to decentralize allocation of oil revenue in favor of local governments.

President Correa publicly referred to Llori as “Mama Lucha”—a slang term for a criminal figure in Ecuador—and she responded by calling him a “vulgar goon” and a “pathetic replica of Hugo Chávez.” Shortly after, on December 7, 2007, Llori was arbitrarily imprisoned after police and military forces violently entered her house and arrested her without a warrant. She was charged with sabotage and terrorism.

UPDATE: [September 23, 2008] Llori is released from jail after nine months and 16 days of illegal imprisonment. Her release follows a September 17 ruling by the Superior Court of Justice of Nueva Loja, which established Llori’s innocence.

“Long live the Human Rights Foundation! I have been waiting for this day for a long time. I am infinitely grateful to HRF for establishing my innocence and for having defended my cause and the cause of my people. HRF was the only organization to defend and take an interest in me. Not a single human rights organization in my country bothered to assist me. Not a single international organization visited me in jail. May God bless HRF,” said Llori following her release.