Press Release — Ecuador: HRF Comments on Arrest of Journalist & Dismissal of Deportation Case

NEW YORK—The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) condemns the violent and arbitrary arrest of French-Brazilian journalist and professor Manuela Picq by the riot police in Quito, and welcomes the judicial decision halting her deportation.

Picq was arrested on Thursday along with her partner, indigenous leader Carlos Pérez Guartambel, while taking part in massive demonstrations against the policies of President Rafael Correa’s government. Picq—who is a correspondent for the international network Al Jazeera—was already in police custody when the Ministry of Foreign Relations canceled her visa last Friday. Yesterday a judge dismissed the deportation case and ordered an investigation of the government officials involved.

“Picq’s assault, arrest, and threat of expulsion from Ecuador are flagrant violations of her freedom of expression, and have a tremendously chilling effect on the local and foreign press in the country,” said Thor Halvorssen, president of HRF. “With these actions, Rafael Correa’s message is clear: local journalists will be repressed, and international journalists will be expelled. We applaud Judge Gloria Pinza’s courageous decision in a country where judicial independence has long been on life support. HRF will closely monitor any potential reprisals by the government,” said Halvorssen.

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.

Contact: Jamie Hancock – Human Rights Foundation, (212) 246.8486, jamie@hrf.org

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