Charges of Terrorism: Ecuador Distances Itself From Claim About Deadly Prison Riot

As the Ecuadorian government once again tries to shut the lid on the false revelation that this week’s deadly prison riot was a “terrorist attack,” the country’s Human Rights Commission is releasing alarming conclusions about the rules of procedure and security that allowed a deadly attack to go on so long as it did.

The government’s response, according to Héctor Mancilla, Ecuador’s veteran rights activist and former president of the country’s Human Rights Commission, was to seize property and punish innocent people for apparently “provoking” the violence by demanding accountability from prison officials.

Mancilla, interviewed by Fox News Latino, noted that the December 2011 report of the Ecuadorian Ministry of the Interior “reins in prisoners and guards and reminds prison authorities, in its 19-page criteria, that it is a matter of national security to maintain the minimum tension in prisons.”

If the government meant what it said then, Mancilla added, it shouldn’t have waited until Monday of this week to inform the press about the fatal shooting that took place at the prison, the longest in prison history, in which six guards and eight prison guards were killed before the inmates began rioting. “The government didn’t give the prison guards a chance to call in reinforcements,” he said.

Mancilla stated that officials “slandered and framed” their own people with the false terror attack claim.

According to the Novo Alimentación newspaper, a memo dated June 13, 2015, sent by the presidency to Minister of the Interior Virgilio Fernández – days before the deadly riot — states that, “those who are condemned with acts that incite or incite others to violence are punished for them.” The penitentiary system “is one of the areas of risk to the national state because it reflects in some moments the highest levels of corruption, lack of communication and failures of management.”

On Friday, the Ministry of Interior denied that it was a “terrorist attack” in the meeting it held with Human Rights Commission officials.

“It’s true that (Human Rights) Commission President¹s body said in a letter sent to President Rafael Correa’s administration that the act of homicide was a terrorist act, but the secretariat has said it’s wrong to call it a terrorist attack because, as a criminal act, such a term must be assigned to its perpetrator,” the ministry said in a statement.

Critics have pointed out that a key factor in this incident was that the hierarchy of the prison guards had already identified and armed themselves against protesters demanding the removal of the prison’s chief, Nicolás Chiriboga. They and other alleged confederates of Chiriboga had used the prison weapon permits issued them by the Ministry of the Interior to shoot back and take control of the prison Thursday.

It was then that Chiriboga and nine other members of his prison leadership were allegedly killed in a gun battle with the guards, who presumably never got the chance to call in reinforcements.

Sánchez is a news service correspondent with Fox News Latino. Contact him at: [email protected]

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