Ecuador ex-VP Glas must stay in jail despite illegal arrest, court rules

  • World
  • Saturday, 13 Apr 2024

FILE PHOTO: Ecuador's Vice President Jorge Glas talks during an interview with Reuters at the Government Palace in Quito, Ecuador, August 29, 2017. REUTERS/Daniel Tapia/File Photo

QUITO (Reuters) -A tribunal in Ecuador on Friday ruled the dramatic arrest of former Vice President Jorge Glas last week was illegal, but said he must remain in jail due to his previous convictions, a decision Glas' lawyer said his team will appeal.

Glas, twice convicted of corruption and now facing fresh charges, was arrested a week ago during a raid by police on Mexico's Quito embassy, where he had been living since December.

The arrest crowned a period of rising diplomatic tension between Ecuador and Mexico, though each country's government has since said it is open to repairing relations.

Glas' defense team had argued the three-judge tribunal should declare his capture at the embassy illegal and set him free, adding Ecuador's government violated his human rights and international law by authorizing security forces to enter a diplomatic mission.

The tribunal agreed the arrest "was illegal and arbitrary," Judge Monica Heredia said, but that due to the existence of previous convictions "this tribunal cannot modify the (jail) sentence."

Glas' lawyer Sonia Vera thanked the international community in a message on X, saying the support was vital for getting the arrest declared illegal.

"However, Jorge is still detained," she said. "We'll appeal until he is free."

Former President Rafael Correa, whom Glas served under between 2013 and 2017, said this week Glas attempted suicide and was on hunger strike, which Vera later confirmed.

Glas was hospitalized on Monday, but returned to prison the next day.

Glas has alleged police beat him during his arrest, while the police have said force was used progressively due to the former vice president's resistance.

The government has said Glas was planning to escape, though it has not provided details.

Mexico's granting of asylum to Glas violates international laws which prohibit asylum for people facing criminal charges, Ecuador has argued.

Prior to the arrest, Quito declared the Mexican ambassador persona non grata, citing "unfortunate" comments by the Mexican president about election violence.

Mexico has called on the United Nations to suspend Ecuador if the country does not apologize for breaching the embassy.

(Reporting by Alexandra ValenciaWriting by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Richard Chang and Diane Craft)

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