Manuela Picq, the French-Brazilian journalist who was arrested last week for participating in an anti-government protest, boarded a flight yesterday in Quito, bound for Brazil.
Although Picq was released from the custody of immigration officials on Monday following a judges’ order, it became clear that the government would not renew her visa which expires next week.
Picq, partner of indigenous protest leader Carlos Perez, was taken into custody Thursday, August 13, during a protest march in Quito. She was turned over to immigration officials who said her visa was not valid and that she would be deported. It turned out, however, that the cultural exchange visa, based on her faculty position at the University of San Francisco, was valid at the time of her arrest.
She had lived in Ecuador for eight years and is a correspondent for Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based news service. A supporter of indigenous rights, she had written articles critical of the government of President Rafael Correa.
Picq says she plans to obtain a Mercosur passport that would allow her to stay in any South American country, and return to Ecuador. It is not clear if Ecuadorian immigration officials will allow her back in the country.