Ecuadorean judge Sylvia Sanchez Wednesday accepted a request from the subrogating head of the Prosecutor's Office, to give preventive prison to seven persons - including journalists, in a bid to eliminate the last remains of Rafael Correa's time as president.
The Prosecutor's Office - pursuing charges against former National Secretary of Communication (Secom) Fernando Alvarado, are looking to eliminate the cabinet Alvarado kept during his tenure under former President Rafael Correa.
The judicial investigation has the signature of the current Secretary of the Secom Andres Michelena, and the government of Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno, who was the administrator of the investigated contract. The main witness in the case is former Communications under-secretary Pablo Yanez, who took refuge in the System of Victims and Witnesses.
Judge Sylvia Sanchez resolved to order preventive detention, transfer of assets and immobilization of account to five former officers of the Secom. These measures are against Marco Antonio Bravo, former secretary of media; Javier Lemos, former financial director; Galo Pacheco, Vanessa Salgado and Juan Chiriboga, all former officials. Also arrested were Carlos Bravo and Beatriz Vivanco, of the hired company, Gota Azul.
Journalist, and owner of the state-hired company Gota Azul, Carlos Bravo, said in an interview that Andres Michelena and Pablo Yanez have to be investigated also. "Andres Michelena, on April 22nd, 2014, through a memorandum, asks Pablo Yanez (...) to require the hiring of Gota Azul. Because in 2013 Andres Michelena was the contract administrator of the contract with Gota Azul."
Journalist Marco Antonio Bravo (MAB), one of the persons who had a preventive prison request, accused President Moreno and the current Communications National Secretary Andres Michelena, of "political hatred against former President Correa and all of us who worked with President Correa," in a dramatic video released by MAB as a response to the arrest warrant.
Tiene razón el periodista Marco A. Bravo: la culpa es de Moreno y Michelena, que utilizan el poder tan solo para sus odios y complejos.— Rafael Correa (@MashiRafael) 31 de octubre de 2018
Pero también es culpable el contralor impostor, el fiscal títere, los jueces venales, y la prensa que esconde tanto abuso.
¡Prohibido olvidar! pic.twitter.com/5Aaq3yjUNP
According to Carlo Bravo "Andres Michelena knew exactly what Gota Azul was producing, approved Gota Azul every month with partial proceedings." For other journalists and political analysts in Ecuador, this is yet another case of lawfare in the South American country. "Carlos Bravo is the new victim of Lawfare in Ecuador," wrote political analyst Amauri Chamorro on a tweet.
Former President Rafael Correa tweeted that "in 16 months (since President Lenin Moreno was sworn-in), there are already 4 journalists with the most absurd prison order, impossible in a state of law, but, since they are journalists who worked with Secom, they have no rights."
Journalist MAB said in a press conference that Andres Michelena was the contract administrator with Gota Azul in 2013. Adding that he and his family have suffered from "media lynching" and highlighted that his duty "as a journalist" was to inform about the Ecuadorean people about the government of President Correa. "I have not taken a single cent, I want to face freedom. It does not merit a preventive prison," added MAB.