Court orders Pichincha Prefect Paola Pabón released from pre-trial detention

Dec 26, 2019 | 8 comments

A Court of Justice judge in Quito has ordered that Pichincha Prefect Paola Pabón be released from preventive detention while she awaits trial on charges of rebellion stemming from the October protests. In her Tuesday ruling, Judge Patlova Guerra said that the allegations against Pabón, a supporter of former president Rafael Correa, were “vague and indeterminate” and did not warrant continued pre-trial imprisonment.

Pichincha Prefect Paola Pabón and Virgilio Hernández celebrate following Tuesday court ruling. (El Comercio)

Pabón, who has served 71 days in prison, is expected to be released today. She said she plans to resume her duties as Pichincha Prefect immediately.

In addition to Pabón, Guerra also ordered the release from prison of ex-National Assemblyman Virgilio Hernández and activist Christian González. In his decision, Guerra said that the three must wear ankle tracking bracelets and make scheduled appearances at the Attorney General’s office.

A prosecutor representing the Attorney General said he did not object to the judge’s decision but said his office would present “concrete and definitive” evidence against Pabón and her associates at trial, the date of which is yet to be determined. Later, however, the Attorney General’s office issued a “revision” of the statement of the unnamed prosecutor who attended Judge Guerra’s hearing, saying that it believed the judge’s conclusion were “erroneous.”

Pabón, Hernández and González are charged “attempting to incite rebellion” during the October 3 to 13 nationwide protests, including participation in the planning of an attack on the comptroller’s office in Quito.

Pabón’s attorney has called the charges against her “bogus and hysterical” and says they are part of the government’s campaign against Correa.

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