Electronic Frontier Foundation
Today marks the last day that the Ecuadorean prosecution has to investigate its case against Ola Bini, the Swedish free software programmer who was arrested there in April and detained for over two months without trial and without clear charges. On Thursday, the judge accepted a plea by the prosecutors to change the nature of the charges, switching from one part of Ecuador’s broad cybercrime statute to another. It seems likely that the prosecution will rely on evidence uncovered a few weeks ago that depicted Bini accessing an open, publicly available telnet service: an act that is, in itself, entirely legal under any reasonable interpretation of the law.
The sudden swapping out of charges at the last moment is just the latest twist in a politically charged and technically confused prosecution. It should be no surprise, then, that Amnesty International this week released a statement denouncing Ecuador’s treatment of Bini. The organization, which works to protect human rights globally, has determined that the Ecuadorian state failed to comply with its obligations under international law during Bini’s arrest and subsequent detention. In addition to this pronouncement, Amnesty has also expressed serious concern that political interference jeopardizes the chance for a fair trial, concerns that EFF has raised as well.