Quito judge Gloria Pinzón on Monday ordered the release of Manuela Picq, a French-Brazilian professor and contributor to the Al Jazeera news service.
Picq, who is the partner of anti-government protest leader Carlos Perez, was arrested Thursday during a protest march in Quito. After treatment for minor injuries suffered during the protest and arrest, she was turned over to immigration officials who said her visa was not valid and that she would be deported.
Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry, which overseas immigration issues, said that in addition to the visa violation, Picq was organizing a protest without a permit. She had been held by immigration officials since Thursday night pending yesterday’s court hearing.
Picq claimed that her visa, based on her faculty duties at a Quito university, was in force and that the deportation order was political, based on her association with Perez and her participation in the protest.
Judge Pinzón agreed with Picq and her attorneys following a Monday hearing and ordered her released from custody and the cancellation of the deportation order. In her decision, Pinzón said there were no grounds for deportation and called for an investigation of the police and immigration officials involved in Picq’s arrest and detention.
“I am really pleased,” Picq said after her release, raising her arms in a victory sign.
“It is a victory for the defense, the attorneys, for the press, and for students and the indigenous movement,” she said.