Ecuador: What is known about the murder of seven prisoners involved in the death of Fernando Villavicencio?

Six Colombians were jailed Ecuador For the assassination of the presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio were He was found dead in a prison in Guayaquil amid “riots” recorded on Friday night, the scene of frequent bloody clashes between gangs. Hours later, the death of an Ecuadorian linked to the politician’s murder was also announced.

In a statement, the State Organization in charge of prisons (SNAI) confirmed that the prisoners who died in the Guayas 1 prison were “Colombians and accused of the assassination of the presidential candidate”.

The suspects were arrested after the crime took place on August 9. Fernando Villavicencio He was shot dead while leading a rally north of Quito ahead of general elections on August 20.

“The national government condemns this fact and affirms its political will to cooperate with the relevant investigations in order to identify those who are intellectually responsible for the former candidate’s crime,” SNAI added.

Thirteen people were arrested for the assassination, while another young Colombian accused of shooting the politician was killed by his bodyguards. Fernando Villavicencio He is a former lawmaker and former investigative journalist known for his consistent condemnation of corruption that led to scandals.

Colombians involved in massacre of six prisoners killed in Ecuador | Source: AFP

“No complicity or concealment”

A right-wing president Guillermo LazoHe left for New York on Thursday for personal matters and announced on social network X (formerly Twitter) that he would be back “in the next few hours”. Ecuador “To attend to this emergency.”

“There is no complicity or cover-up, the truth will be known here,” the ruler added, ordering an “immediate meeting with the Defense Cabinet”.

Guillermo LazoThe man who maintains an outspoken war on drug trafficking was scheduled to travel from New York to Seoul on an official visit starting this Saturday to promote negotiations on a trade agreement.

The massacre of prisoners comes days before the October 15 presidential election between leftist Luisa González and rightist Daniel Noboa.

The deaths of these six criminals come days after the US government offered a five million dollar reward for information about the mastermind of the murder. Fernando VillavicencioAnd on the same day, Interior Minister Juan Zapata spoke about the possibility of making public the case report prepared by the police.

Members of the military leave the facilities after an operation at the Guayas 1 prison in Guayaquil, Ecuador on October 6, 2023. Source: AFP

Another dead prisoner

And He joined the list of six Colombians who died in an Ecuadorian prison while in prison in Quito. According to the National Service for Comprehensive Attention to Persons Deprived of Liberty (SNAI), State Penal Division.

Hours after six Colombian inmates were hanged at a prison in Guayaquil, a prisoner identified as Jose M. was found dead at El Inca prison in Quito.

The SNAI announced the event at a time when the so-called Defense Cabinet, comprising ministers and other executive officers, convened in an emergency meeting to analyze the situation after being called by the President. Guillermo Lazo.

SNAI, in a statement, said, “On the morning of this Saturday, October 7, within the Pichincha No. 1 Deprivation of Liberty Center (El Inca prison), criminal personnel carried out procedures after a recorded event that resulted in the death of Jose. M related to the case of the former presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio“.

Reorganize the police command

In a statement issued by the Presidential Communications Directorate, the President made the assurance. Guillermo Lazo Amid several moves, including reshuffle of the high command of the law enforcement agency, the prison authority and the head of police investigations were ordered to be replaced.

The President’s actions in this regard have been informed in a report. Guillermo Lazo against Villavicencio “in the face of the violent death of seven persons connected with the crime who were deprived of their liberty”.

Among these actions, he ordered the “dismissal of the Director General of Investigation of the National Police, General Alain Luna, and his subsequent dismissal and reorganization of the police hierarchy.”

Likewise, “the transfer of six persons deprived of their liberty in connection with the investigation into the murder of Fernando Villavicencio, in order to protect their safety.”

Also “Removal of SNAI’s Director, Luis Orténez, and appropriate assignment of (inactive service) Fausto Cobo, current Director of CIES.”

Finally, Guillermo Lazo “The Deputy Director of CPL Guayas 1 (Guayaquil Penitentiary) already detained by the National Police ordered the filing of a criminal complaint against Jose M so that he can present his version to the prosecutor’s office.”

Prisoners should be exchanged

Six Colombian inmates who were found dead in a prison under yet-to-be-disclosed circumstances have been ordered to be transferred from the prison.

The Attorney General’s Department has informed this on Friday EcuadorIt launched an inquiry against the National Service for Comprehensive Attention to Persons Deprived of Liberty (SNAI), the body responsible for guarding and managing the country’s prisons, to find out the circumstances under which the order was not carried out.

As a result, a chief and two SNAI prison guards were taken to a flagrant cell to take their statements.

The six Colombians, identified as Jhon Gregore R., Andrés Manuel M., Adey Fernando G., Camilo Andrés R., Sules Osmin C. and José Neyder L., were in Pavilion 7 of the Littoral Penitentiary.

SOS Prisons EcuadorA citizen platform that defines itself as a group that guarantees human rights and peaceful environments in prisons EcuadorSix more prisoners asked the prosecutor’s office and SNAI to be transferred to a secure prison, noting “the same prison they were denied.”

Election on fire

Guayas 1 is one of five prisons in a large prison complex located in Guayaquil (southwest of the country), which has become a hub of activity for drug trafficking gangs. Since 2021, more than 430 people have died in clashes between prisoners.

According to SNAI, a criminal group was removing the bodies while police and soldiers were “providing security” for the approximately 6,800 inmates at the prison.

Local media reported that Pavilion 7 is controlled by Las Aguilas, one of several Ecuadorian gangs affiliated with cartels from Mexico, such as Sinaloa and Jalisco Nueva Generacion, and from Colombia.

A presidential campaign in the midst of war

Ecuador A presidential campaign rocked by political violence and the drug war has ended. In addition Fernando VillavicencioSeven politicians have been murdered in the past year, including a mayor, two municipal councillors, a keen deputy and a local leader.

President Nobowa urged the government to investigate the death of the prisoners. “How can we allow the empowerment of violence that has plunged the entire country into terror and uncertainty?” he asked in a statement.

His rival, the leftist González, vowed to have a “strategy of terror that they are trying to impose on the citizens.”

“Enough is enough!”, cried former Socialist President Rafael Correa (2007-2017) in a video aired on the Political File X network.

The primary investigation Fernando Villavicencio Correa, who lives in Belgium, was sentenced to eight years in prison on corruption charges.

In late September, the slain presidential candidate’s widow reported the attack against her. (With information from EFE and AFP)

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