Ola Bini case: Judge denies annulment of trial

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Ola Bini
Foto: Reprodução
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Following reinstatement, this Wednesday December 16 in Ecuador, of the evaluation hearing and preparatory trial in the case of the Swedish free software developer, Ola Bini, accused without evidence of the crime of "non-consensual access to a computer system", the prosecution rejected the defense's request for annulment and declared the validity of the criminal proceeding against him. Meanwhile, observers were prevented from entering the hearing.


Judge Yadira Proaño indicated that there are no defects of nullity, competence, or a prejudicial nature that could affect anything done so far in the Ecuadorian criminal process, thus rejecting all the arguments of Bini's defense, and ordered the opening of the preparatory stage of the trial in the case.


The hearing against the Swedish computer scientist, a friend of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, was suspended on December 3 after his lawyers presented all the elements for the nullification of the accusations.


What was at stake, the defense said at the time, was whether the procedures and due process had been respected, which, according to his lawyer, Carlos Soria, clearly they had not, so it was appropriate to declare the charges null and void.


The defense, led by Soria and José Charry, argued before the judge, "all the violations against [Bini] from the moment of his arrest," since he had not been informed of the reasons for which he was being detained, or his having been named in the media, among other violations. According to Soria, more than 120 human rights violations have been committed since his arrest in 2019.


Bini arrived in the Andean country in 2013, hired by the international company Thoughtworks, as a consultant. He is an expert in the development of technology related to security, privacy and cryptography. Also, in addition to being known as an active contributor to software communities around the world, he has conducted workshops for activists and journalists on the protection of privacy. He was arrested on April 11, 2019, the same day Ecuador decided to end the asylum of Assange at its embassy in London.


The Prosecutor's Office, which first accused him of "attacking the integrity of computer systems", but months later reformulated charges of "non-consensual access", must now present all the evidence for the accusation against Bini.


According to Soria's declarations to various media outlets, "this is a case of political persecution" since there is no evidence that accuses him of the crimes pointed out by the Ecuadorian Prosecutor's Office.


Watchdog organizations were prevented from entering the hearing


Meanwhile, representatives of the observation mission from various Ecuadorian and international organizations such as the Fundación Regional de Asesoría en Derechos Humanos (INREDH), the Observatorio de Derechos y Justicia of Ecuador, the NGO Derechos Digitales of Chile, Article 19, and the Intervozes collective, as well as media outlets such as Marcha Noticias of Argentina and Ecuador Today, were prevented from entering the hearing. These organizations aim to guarantee respect for the right to a fair, independent and impartial trial.


The organizations also denounced through social media that the live broadcast of the hearing was also not allowed, thus limiting public accessibility, a fundamental right. "By not guaranteeing the principle of publicity, we are concerned that further violations will occur," they denounced.


"This will be a very hard day. Reliving all the abuses against me is very traumatic, and doing so while new violations are occurring is both traumatic and very frustrating," Bini wrote on his Twitter account hours before the hearing.



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