On Tuesday, the Ecuadorian justice acquitted Swedish activist and digital security expert Ola Bini, a friend of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. He had been facing charges for "illegal access to computer systems" since 2019.
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“Innocent. Bini is innocent. The three-judge that followed Bini’s case declared so in a unanimous verdict,” his lawyer Carlos Soria said and criticized that the case took so long to be resolved.
“Bini has not been able to leave this country for the judicial process open against him,” Soria condemned, arguing that the Ecuadorian justice committed over 100 violations against his client’s rights during such process.
The digital security expert was first arrested in Quito on April 11, 2019, the same day President Lenin Moreno’s administration suspended Assange’s political asylum and threw him out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Bini was released after serving 70 days in prison as the Moreno administration could not formalize any charges for lack of evidence. A few months later, however, the Ecuadorian government accused him of computer hacking, for which he was likely to serve between three to five years in prison.
In September 2019, a trial against Bini started. Nevertheless, after allowing interference from the Prosecutor’s Office, the judge presiding over the case was forced to recuse himself. That year, NGOs such as "Article 19" and "Electronic Frontier Foundation" (EFF) started an international campaign in solidarity with Bini.
“Our work should not be criminalized, especially when there are no solid arguments,” the Center for Digital Autonomy stated, arguing that the verdict in favor of the Bini makes Ecuador a safer place for cyber-security experts to work.