Ecuadorian Student Activists File Torture Charges against Police
EspañolThe parents of the Ecuadorian student activists from the Mejía School who were arrested during protests on September 18 have filed criminal allegations of torture against police. They say police used excessive force and abused the students while in custody. The decision to file charges was made on Tuesday, October 14, after the group met with their lawyer, Gonzalo Realpe.
“They didn’t beat up and bust open the heads of animals; these are human beings, young students and workers, and this cannot go unpunished,” said Realpe.
Students first accused the police of abuse immediately after being arrested and transferred to the detention center. If convicted, the officers accused of torture could face 10 to 13 years in prison.
“We feel obliged to demonstrate to the public the abuse that we were subjected to,” said Carlos López, one of the students who is filing charges.
“I received blows to my back and to my ribs. I was also pepper sprayed, and had water sprayed on my face so that it would sting more,” said Jefferson Rueda, another of the students who is alleging police abuse. “After that they brought me to the detention center and made fun of our parents and mocked our school,” he added.
María José Carrión, a representative of the ruling PAIS Alliance, recognized the parents’ right to bring forth charges, but said she believes the police reacted to the protests in a professional manner. She said police did not use excessive force and were unarmed when they arrested the students.
Meanwhile, 115 students remain suspended, including 68 from the Mejía School. Students are expected to complete their schoolwork from home until the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education decides on the penalty to be imposed on students who participated in the protest.
Martín Angulo, vice principal of Mejía School, clarified that students enrolled at his school would not be allowed to attend class until the administrative investigations being carried out are completed.