This man has reportedly been arrested for hate crime after criticising the local authorities’ handling of the COVID-19 crisis.
Wilmer Enrique A.V., 44, was arrested in the city of Guayaquil in the south-western Ecuadorian province of Guayas, one of the most affected regions with COVID-19 in the country.
Photos of dead bodies lining the pavement in the region made the international headlines last week.
Wilmer Enrique was arrested after he posted two videos where he “used strong adjectives against President Lenin Moreno Garces, politicians, bankers and national police”, according to the National Police.
He reportedly criticised the authorities’ management of the COVID-19 crisis and in one video he was quoted as saying: “It is the fault and ineptitude of all you lot that people are dying.
“I am losing my family because of you damned governors.”
He also questioned the virus diagnosis of Guayaquil mayor Cynthia Viteri and he described government minister Maria Paula Romo as a “damned b*tch”, according to local media.
Lawyer Hector Vanegas told local media that the suspect was released one day after his arrest, which he believes was illegal.
However, he added that prosecutors are continuing their investigation and the suspect could face up to three years in prison if convicted of hate crime.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights had already expressed their concern at healthcare professionals being threatened with disciplinary action for commenting on the shortages of resources during the crisis.
According to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University, Ecuador has registered 4,450 cases of COVID-19, 242 related deaths and 140 recoveries.
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