Ecuador: urban guerilla suspects freed

Seven men who were detained in March in Quito’s southern district of Luluncoto on “terrorism” and “subversion” charges were freed Dec. 20, after a panel of three judges of the metropolitan province Pichincha found that they had been detained in violation of constitutional guarantees against arbitrary arrest. Three women who were arrested along with them remain detained and on hunger strike at Quito’s El Inca women’s prison. The seven men also went on hunger strike at Quito’s Provisional Detention Center three days before their release. The so-called Luluncoto 10 were arrested in an operation code-named Red Sun, and accused of being part of an urban guerilla cell called the Popular Combat Group (GCP), which was supposedly planning attacks in the capital. (El Universo, Guayaquil, Dec. 20; El Comercio, Quito Dec. 17; El Comercio, March 6)

Ecuador’s last known guerilla group, Alfaro Vive Carajo, laid down arms more than 20 years ago, although some cells are believed to remain in clandestinity.