Activist Ola Bini Sentenced to One Year in Prison After Ecuadorian Court Overturns Acquittal

The ruling by two out of three judges of the Provincial Court of Pichincha overturned the unanimous verdict issued by a trial court in Quito in January 2023, which had declared Bini innocent.

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Photo by Omar Arregui Gallegos for La Barra Espaciadora

A court in Ecuador has sentenced Swedish software developer and digital rights activist, Ola Bini, to one year in prison for “Attempted Non-Consensual Access to a Computer System.”

The ruling by two out of three judges of the Provincial Court of Pichincha overturned the unanimous verdict issued by a trial court in Quito in January 2023, which had declared Bini innocent. The acquittal had come nearly four years after Bini was arrested in April 2019, the same day as his friend, WikiLeaks founder and journalist Julian Assange was seized from the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Assange, who has been imprisoned for five years now, is himself just weeks away from a ruling by the Royal Courts of Justice in London that will determine whether or not he can have a final chance to challenge his extradition to the U.S. through the UK’s legal system.

Much like Assange, Bini’s persecution was marred by severe procedural lapses and violations, including his imprisonment for 70 days without the formalization of charges. While Bini was released in June 2019 after his writ of habeas corpus was accepted, several restrictions were placed upon him, including being barred from leaving Ecuador.

The charges against him were amended repeatedly until the prosecution finally settled on “illegal, non-consensual access to a computer or communications system,” for the purpose of destabilizing the government. The charge carried a sentence of between three to five years in prison.

Globetrotter

Globetrotter is an independent international news syndication service for the people of the Global South, publishing a wide range of perspectives.

Peoples Dispatch

Peoples Dispatch is an international media project with the mission of bringing to you voices from people’s movements and organizations across the globe.

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