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After Assange’s arrest, Ecuador’s creep towards authoritarianism becomes a sprint

The recent violation of Assange’s rights as both political asylee and citizen of Ecuador sends a chilling message to Ecuadorians who are being increasingly targeted for their political views both within Ecuador and abroad.

by Whitney Webb

Part 3 - Spreading the net

In addition to Bini’s pre-trial detention based on nothing more than questionable evidence, an Ecuadorian lawyer and supporter of former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa, Viviana Paredes, announced on Friday that she had been informed she was the likely object of an investigation by Ecuador’s Interior Ministry triggered by her participation in a 2012 event along with Assange’s mother, Christine Assange, where they — among others — urged the then-Correa-led government to offer Assange asylum.

Furthermore, several protesters were arrested in Quito for demonstrating against Moreno’s decision to revoke Assange’s asylum and his corruption scandal.

Two of those detained were forced to publicly apologize to Moreno and sentenced to 50 hours of community service. One of the detained protesters later told Ecuadorian journalist Enrique Alcivar that Ecuador had become “a dictatorship” while the other stated that “there is no longer freedom of expression” in the country.

Following Paredes’ statement on Friday, notable Ecuadorian politicians, such as former Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño and legislator Amapola Naranjo, reported acts of intimidation directed against them over the weekend.

Patiño announced via Twitter that a truck without a license plate but belonging to the government’s communication authority had erratically pursued his car as he and his wife were driving from Quito to Quevedo early Saturday night. The day before, Patiño claimed on Ecuadorian radio station EcuadorInmediato that Moreno made the decision to revoke the journalist’s asylum in exchange for loans from the IMF and other U.S.-dominated financial institutions. Ecuador’s Interior Ministry also recently accused Patiño of “conspiring” against Moreno, but has yet to provide evidence to support those claims.

Naranjo, for her part, stated on Twitter Sunday that she had recently received numerous verbal threats and warnings and that she had been the victim of smear campaigns on social media and other media for her vocal opposition to Moreno and his political allies in Ecuador’s legislature.

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