Crime & Justice

Ecuador raids office of Swedish computer scientist friend of Assange

Quito, Apr 8 (EFE).- Ecuadorian authorities Friday raided the office of Swedish cyber security expert Ola Bini, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s friend, facing allegations of illegal access to computer systems of the South American country.

Bini, the 39-year-old founder of the non-profit organization Center for Digital Autonomy (CAD) in Quito, is accused of trying to access information from the computers of state oil company Petroecuador and an intelligence office.

Bini’s lawyer, Carlos Soria, told EFE that the raid by the police and agents from the prosecutor’s office was without any court orders.

Soria alleged that the search warrant did not have the signatures of a judge needed to carry out the search operation.

He said the warrant, at the beginning of the raid, did not include the order to seize the computers of the non-profit.

Soria alleged that the Ecuadorian government had violated “once again the rights” of Ecuadorians and Swedish citizens.

He said the raid appeared to be carried out by “a persecuting state.”

The defense lawyers were contemplating their next move after the “brutal persecution,” said Soria.

The State Attorney General’s Office denied any legal loopholes with the raid carried out with the help of police to investigate “alleged procedural fraud (to) collect evidence.”

The raid took place days before Apr.11 marks the three years of Bini’s arrest in 2019.

He was arrested when he was leaving Quito for Japan after Julian Assange’s ejection from Ecuador’s London Embassy.

Bini was jailed for about 70 days.

President Lenín Moreno (2007-2021) headed the Ecuadorian government then.

According to the Prosecutor’s Office, Bini might have illegally accessed the computer systems of the National Telecommunications Corporation to obtain any information on the digital content of the oil company and the former secretariat of the National Intelligence.

The case was filed in 2019. But it was postponed on several occasions for different reasons, including the coronavirus pandemic.

After delays that his defense considers unjustified, the trial against Bini began in January.

But no details were disclosed about the progress. EFE


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