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  • Gorel Biniel and Dag Gustafsson, parents of Swedish software developer Ola Bini, arrive at the jail where Bini is being held, in Quito

    Gorel Biniel and Dag Gustafsson, parents of Swedish software developer Ola Bini, arrive at the jail where Bini is being held, in Quito | Photo: Reuters

Published 24 April 2019
Opinion

Ola Bini, a friend of recently arrested Julian Assange, described the supposed evidence against him — books, computers, and USBs — as Orwellian.

The parents of Ola Bini, a Swedish information technology privacy advocate living in Ecuador who was arrested at the Quito airport while on his way to Japan for a martial arts event, came to the Ecuadorean capital to visit their son and to call for the government to “give him a fair trial” and to respect his “human rights.”

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In an interview with teleSUR, Ola Bini’s father spoke of his struggle to understand why his son had been arrested. The government of Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno has accused the celebrated digital privacy advocate and friend of Julian Assange of working to destabilize the government by hacking computers and phones in the country.

“The evidence, that he had a book of Noam Chomsky, a couple of USB sticks, and a couple of computers;  that is the evidence they have showed, and I don’t think it’s a crime to have any of those things,” said Dag Gustafsson, Ola Bini’s father.

Regardless, Gustafsson pleaded with the government, saying: Please, Ecuadorean government, next time you meet Ola, give him a fair trial, it’s not about guilt or not guilt, but to be treated fair, that the legal system is working.”

Ola Bini’s mother, on the other hand, spoke in the interview of the conditions in which Ecuador is holding her son despite the irregularities of the case. She described the situation in which Ola is living as “not so good. All the prisoners are all lying on the floor. They get daylight 3 days a week. They have water 5 hours a day, and it’s cold water, and they cannot drink it. There’s a lot of things that’s not so good, for them, for all the prisoners.”

One of Ola Bini’s lawyers, Jose Charry in front of the prison called out the irregularities related to the case, saying, “The Attorney General should explain to his team of lawyers exactly what Ola did to get detained because up to now there is no who, what, where or why. Most of all, there is nothing to their case.”

Present at the visit was also the Swedish Consul to Ecuador in Quito Ola Emberg who explained that the Swedish government was in contact with the Ecuadorean government and that they have a policy to not interfere in legal cases within the country.

On the other side, the Foreign Minister of Sweden Margot Wallström met with the Ecuadorian Ambassador to Sweden in Stockholm to discuss the case. The Foreign Minister’s office reported that: “At the meeting, we requested clarifications on what the Swedish citizen is accused of and also requested more information about the legal process. I can't go into any more details about what was said. We emphasize that we have a clear consular mission for our citizen.”

Ola Bini is currently being held in the El Inca Detention Center and legal proceedings against him are set to begin Thursday, May 2, 2019.

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