Ola Bini was not allowed to be physically present in the bail hearing yesterday May 29 and instead participated through video-call.
Software developer and privacy activist Ola Bini was denied bail by an Ecuadorian judge on May 29. The judge justified the decision citing that since the Attorney General has not estimated the damage done by Bini, a bail amount could not be decided. Bini has been detained since April 11, without any concrete charges, and is currently serving a 90-day pre-trial detention.
Bini’s defense requested bail and a suspension of his preventative detention, arguing that his case did not meet with any of the stipulations to not grant him bail outlined in Article 544 of the Ecuadorian Comprehensive Organic Penal Code (COIP). The article states that there are only four reasons why bail would not be granted: when it is a crime against a minor, disabled person or an elderly person; crimes with a sentence of over 5 years, when the person was granted bail before and violated the conditions; and crimes of intrafamilial violence.
Bini’s case has caught the attention of activists and human rights defenders across the globe due to the political nature of his detention and the glaring irregularities and violations that have occurred at every step of the process. Yesterday, the judge even prohibited Bini from physically attending the hearing, despite a request by his defense team. Instead the judge called for his participation through a video call despite the hearing being held in the same city as the prison where he is detained. The hearing which was set to be public was made private by order of the judge Marisol Proaño after she heard a cell phone ring.
Representatives of the United Nations and the Inter-American Human Rights Commission sent a letter to Ecuadorian authorities on May 7, asking them to take the necessary measures to protect the rights and liberties of Ola. They also asked authorities to investigate, process and impose appropriate sanctions on all the people responsible for violations in his case.
José Charry, a lawyer from Bini’s defense team who was present in the hearing, told AP that “Ola Bini is a victim of abusive use of state power. The Attorney General, 50 days after the detention, has not presented proof that justifies the detention.” He commented that the law is not being respected, but the defense will remain firm and will evaluate the possibility of asking for a Habeas Corpus in order to determine the legality of the arrest.