Ecuador: Javier Ramírez is free at last!

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Human rights advocate Javier Ramírez was released on 10 February from the Social Rehabilitation Centre in Ibarra, Ecuador, where he had been detained since 10 April 2014 on charges of sabotage, terrorism, and rebellion. These carried a possible sentence of 1-3 years. Mr. Ramírez is an Ecuadorian farmer, a human rights advocate, and the re-elected president of the Junín community in the Intag region. He is a leader in defending the environment and the territory, in particular against ENAMI, a national mining company in Ecuador.

Mr. Ramírez was sentenced to 10 months in prison for the crime of "attack and resistance"; however, he was immediately released as he had already spent 10 months in detention and, therefore, had already completed the sentence.

At the end of January 2015, FIDH, with the support of La Comisión Ecuménica de Derechos Humanos (CEDHU) and La Fundación Regional de Asesoría en Derechos Humanos, (INREDH), carried out a fact-finding mission in Ecuador looking into the criminalisation of human rights defenders. Despite the judges’ initial refusal to allow access to the hearing, FIDH succeeded in making it public so members of the community could finally attend. Prior to the ruling, FIDH filed an amicus curiae at the trial denouncing the wrongful criminalisation of Mr. Ramírez’s activities and requesting his acquittal and release.

FIDH, with the support of its member organisations in Ecuador, especially the CEDHU, carried out a global campaign #ForFreedom for the liberation of wrongfully detained human rights advocates, including Javier Ramírez.

The FIDH denounces the arbitrariness of the sentence but is pleased that he was released.

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