April 2019

Free Ola Bini Solidarity Letter

Ola Bini is a developer, not a criminal.

As technologists, free and open source developers, and individuals and organizations working to protect the security of the Internet, we wish to protest in the strongest terms the continuing illegal detention in Ecuador of Ola Bini, a cyber-security expert, privacy consultant, free software contributor and advocate of digital rights. We see his ongoing, preventive detention as arbitrary and as an attack against us all.

Ola was detained at Quito airport on April 11 and prevented from boarding a plane to Japan. His basic rights were denied: he was not informed of the accusations against him, nor was he provided translation into his native language, Swedish, and he was kept in illegal custody without the ability to communicate with the Swedish consul, in flagrant disregard of Ecuador's constitution.

After 17 hours, he was finally granted access to legal assistance and, 30 hours after his detention, a judge ordered him to be held for 90 days pretrial detention, dismissing all arguments of the defence and presenting extremely dubious evidence against him obtained by police and the prosecution. Photographs of Ola's equipment, books, and even stickers were published by the Ecuadorian police's Twitter account.