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  • Swedish privacy rights activist Ola Bini (L) in an appeal hearing at a Provincial Court in Quito, Ecuador, May 2, 2019.

    Swedish privacy rights activist Ola Bini (L) in an appeal hearing at a Provincial Court in Quito, Ecuador, May 2, 2019. | Photo: EFE

Published 15 May 2019

The Swedish citizen remains in prison accused for the crime of attacks against Ecuadorian information systems.

The Ecuadorean Pichincha Court Wednesday set May 22 as the date for the bail request hearing in favor of the Swedish digital activist Ola Bini, who has been accused by the Ecuadorean General's Attorney for the crime of attacks against information systems.

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“We favor a due process. The evidence presented in this case by the police, which was a tweet that was subsequently erased, is laughable," Digital Users Director Alfredo Velazco told teleSUR and explained that such procedures affect "not only to free software developers or digital activists but to any person who is accused of presenting books, computers or USB drives."

The open source developer was arrested on April 11, just a few hours after Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks co-funder, was removed from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He was initially accused of participating in the "assault on the integrity" of computer systems. Later, on April 13, he was placed in 90-day preventative custody.

Free software professionals and privacy defenders warned that the prosecutor's decision has no constitutional or legal basis. In addition to the fact that the accusers have not specifically indicated which local private or public information systems would have allegedly been attacked by Bini, it is contradictory and nonsensical to accuse a privacy defender of attacking information.

“We do not develop software to steal information or much less hacking. There is a strong hacking culture among free software supporters; however, it is not as people used to imagining it. They are not computer pirates. They are people who find disruptive solutions to existing problems,” said Marcelo Sotaminga, the vice president of Free Developer Software in Ecuador.

Attorney Carlos Soria announced that Bini's bail hearing will be installed on May 22 and stressed that the Ecuadorean justice will not find any legal basis to either deny bail or keep the defendent in prison.

“The most concerning thing about the judge's decision is that if our petition had been accepted and Ola released, he could have disappeared or damaged the investigation's evidence. I ask myself 'how could he destroy the evidence when they already have all the evidence?' There would be no way to do so,” Soria said and added “that is the kind of judges we have now.”

Bini’s legal team also pointed out that the Ecuadorean government will ask the U.S., Spain and Israel for technical help to analyze the Swedish activist personal and work stuff.

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