Ecuador: Environmental rights defender Cristian Montero released on bail

On 22 April 2020, the Court of the Multicompetent Judicial Unit ordered the release on bail of environmental rights defender Cristian Montero. He was effectively released on 25 April after paying the 5,000 USD bail. The judicial harassment continues as the criminal trial is still in progress.

President of the Provincial Assembly for the Defence of Human Rights and Living Nature of Bolivar, Cristian Montero is a native of the community of Balzapamba where some 160,000 hectares have been granted in concession for open-pit industrial mining, an activity that threatens natural resources. Cristian Montero has faced harassment and intimidation from mining companies since 2018 for his defence of the rights of peasants and nature. He was arrested on 27 December 2019 for allegedly "paralysing public service" during the October 2019 national strike. While in custody, Cristian Montero was contaminated with dengue fever, probably tuberculosis, and was denied medical attention. He lost over 40 pounds.

FIDH, through its Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and its member organisation in Ecuador, Acción Ecológica, called for the release of Cristian Montero through social media campaigns and advocacy, including a letter of support in the framework of his hearing on 22 April 2020.

FIDH welcomes the release of Cristian Montero and continues its work to end the judicial harassment against him and other environmental rights defenders in Ecuador.

See also: Ecuador: Liberación condicional y continuación de la criminalización del Sr. Cristian Montero and follow our #ForFreedom campaign for the release of arbitrarily detained human rights defenders.

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