An Ecuadorian court has suspended pre-trial hearings in the case against digital privacy rights activist and software developer Ola Bini. In a hearing held on Thursday, December 3, which was supposed to be the beginning of the pre-trial hearings, it was decided to push the hearings until December 16 after several issues cropped up during the proceedings.
According to reports, the court supposedly faced several technical issues and the appointed translator for Bini was not available. Bini had also stated that his defense team led by Jose Charry Dávalos had submitted a trove of evidence showing the violations of his rights by the Ecuadorian government and the prosecution. The court also cited the time required to go through the evidence presented as one of the reasons for suspending the hearing for later.
Moreover, in the hearings that will resume on December 16, only parties involved in the case will be allowed to attend. Observers will not be allowed to take part. Thursday’s hearing had over 18 observers, including a coalition of national and international civil society groups, along with the representative of the government of Sweden, Bini’s home country.
Speaking to the press after the hearing, Dávalos said that “legal injuries were committed against his client, including incommunicado detention, right to defense and detention without knowledge.”
Bini was first arrested in April 2019, within hours after the arrest of Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He was allegedly not allowed to seek legal help, nor was he told the charges he was detained under for nearly a day. Charges were only filed much later after the arrest.
Bini’s case has been riddled with several infractions of the established judicial and legal procedures, which led to his release two months later. The judge presiding over his case also recused himself in September last year after the defense raised allegations of political interference through him.