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Ecuadorian Authorities Raid Dissident Lawyer's Home

[All links lead to Spanish language web pages, except when otherwise noted.]

On the morning of December 26, 2013, members of Ecuador’s elite police force (GIR) raided the home of Fernando Villavicencio following a court order from the Attorney General.

Villavicencio is a legal adviser to Clever Jiménez, an assembly member from the Pachakutik [en] party. Earlier in 2013, Jiménez and the activist, Carlos Figueroa, were sentenced to 18 months in prison for slander against the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa. In 2011, the three men accused the head of state of having allegedly ordered the armed attack at the Hospital de la Policía (Police Hospital) during the September 2010 [en] uprising [en].

The operation at the home of Villavicencio -authorised by National Court judge Jorge Blum- lasted until 3:00 a.m. The district attorney’s office had been looking for information held on personal computers and cellphones, which were confiscated as part of an investigation into suspected espionage in relation to emails sent by high ranking government officials.

The investigation also involves the assembly member Clever Jiménez, whose office at the National Assembly was also raided. Jiménez had publicly admitted to possessing numerous emails from both the President and the Vice President, Jorge Glas, in relation to the Chevron case [en].

Social media has been inundated with reactions to the incident, including that of Alfredo Velazco (@alfredovelazco) who tweeted and commented on Facebook about the contradictions and double standards in the country:

#Ecuador gives asylum to #Assange for publishing emails by officials from #EEUU (USA) but raids home of #Villavicencio… http://t.co/MTpzhXj6al

Verónica Potes ‏(@veropotes) stressed that justice was not a game:

You don’t mess with due process, @Galo_Chiriboga @ppsesa, you should know this having once been lawyers #Villavicencio

The film maker Carlos Andrés Vera (@Polificcion) considered the incident an abuse of power which will most likely be covered up by a media campaign against Villavicencio:

11.- All of this constitutes yet another abuse by the state which will be covered up with a vile campaign against Villavicencio in the mainstream media.

Diana Amores Moreno (@Diana_Amores) tweeted an ironic comment about the National Secretary for Communication (SECOM) regarding the raid:

Good morning Revolution of televisual lobotomies! Has SECOM already told you what to think about the attack on #Villavicencio? Excellent!

Plan V, a website dedicated to producing its own reports alongside contributions from established journalists from the Ecuadorian press, published the article “Cuando el terror llama a tu puerta…” (When terror knocks at your door…”). The article speaks about the experiences of Fernando Villavicencio, his wife Verónica and his two young children and has been shared on numerous social networks.

Pablo Jaramillo Viteri published the following photo on his Twitter account:

Ten armed GIR officers have raided the home of Fernando Villavicencio, acting on orders from national judge Jorge Blum.

The President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, posted on his Facebook account and on Twitter (@MashiRafael) that there was a recording of the raid and that it would be made public in due course:

A few months ago, he hacked into accounts belonging to the President and other high ranking officials. Investigations were filed against Cléver Jiménez and his “adviser”, Fernando…

…Villavicencio. The raids were carried out under court order. Surprising discoveries. We have it all filmed, so playing the…

…victim as they tend to will not help them. Very serious things have been found. At the right time and in accordance with…

…due process the country will know all about it. It's terrible what these guys have been up to!

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