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News > Ecuador

Lifeless Body of Missing Lawyer Found in Ecuador

  • Mass concentration in Quito on the outskirts of the Police Headquarters, the death of María Belén Bernal, the cry of the crowd to the police is “Murderers”.

    Mass concentration in Quito on the outskirts of the Police Headquarters, the death of María Belén Bernal, the cry of the crowd to the police is “Murderers”. | Photo: Twitter @ecuadorprensaec

Published 22 September 2022

Several organizations have mobilized since the disappearance of María Belén Bernal and denounced the involvement of police authorities in the incident.

The president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, informed this Wednesday the discovery of the lifeless body of the lawyer María Belén Bernal, who disappeared in the Police High School 11 days ago, while protests continue after the fact.


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"With deep pain and indignation I regret to inform that María Belén was found. Her femicide will not go unpunished and all those responsible will be subjected to the law. My solidarity with her mother Elizabeth and her little son," the president stressed from his Twitter account.

According to information platforms, authorities reported the discovery of skeletal remains in the Cerro Casitagua sector, not far from the Police High School.

However, they disseminated the information even though the experts had not carried out the necessary tests to determine the identity of the deceased and whether the body found corresponds to that of María Belén.

Several organizations have mobilized since the disappearance of the lawyer and denounced the involvement of the police authorities in the incident.

"Murderers, murderers, murderers" and "The police do not take care of me, my friends take care of me" have been some  slogans raised by those denouncing the femicide.

They also demanded the resignation of the Minister of the Interior, Patricio Carrillo. On the other hand, they denounced the "feminicidal State" and demanded "Justice for Belen", as they marched from the Ministry of Agriculture to the Police Headquarters, demanding justice and the conviction of police officer German Fernando Caceres del Salto, main suspect in the murder of the jurist.

For her part, Rosa López Machuca from her social networks has reiterated that Ecuador is a feminicidal state. "Apologies are not enough, María Belén lives and with more strength in our feminist resistance against violence. Close the Police High School now," she said.

Meanwhile, the rapporteur of the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances and professor of the School of Jurisprudence of the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Juan Pablo Albán, stressed "that recognizing that in this case the perpetrator is a State agent and abusing that condition, in a State facility and with the collaboration of other State agents disappeared a family member, does not erase the criminal responsibility of all those individuals."

 "What pain, rage and impotence. Women in Ecuador are killed with impunity before the eyes and patience of an indolent, misogynist and femicidal State. The case of María Belén Bernal hurts the soul, it hurts to breathe, it hurts life itself," said feminist lawyer and women's rights activist Lita Martínez Alvarado.

The content laboratory from feminism, new masculinities and LGBTIQ+ groups denounced that femicides are increasing in Ecuador, with 1,531 victims in the country from February 27, 2014 to August 21, 2022.

In this sense, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) demanded truth and justice for this, and for "the thousands of cases of disappearance, gender violence and forced disappearance. The job of the police is not to find bodies, it is to prevent murders from taking place".

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