President Lenin Moreno has pardoned six indigenous activists who were jailed for their participation in a 2015 anti-mining protest.
Moreno said he had concluded that the arrests of the six men were not justified and that they were exercising their constitutional right to protest. “I have signed the pardons for José Rodrigo, Tubón Guano, José Manuel de la Cruz Sánchez, Elvis Javier Guamán Cuvi, José Esteban, y Segundo Santiago Pilatasig Quispe”, Moreno wrote in his Twitter account Friday.
The six were arrested on charges of “attacking and resisting authority” during a protest against a mining project in Pastaza Province in the Amazon in August 2015.
On June 14, Moreno pardoned indigenous leader Patricio Meza, who was part of a group of demonstrators known as “Los siete de Pastaza.”
Ecuador’s Secretary of Political Management, Paola Pabon, said that the granting of pardons is part of Moreno’s “national dialog to promote a government of inclusion.”
Former President Rafael Correa Tweeted last week that the government “should be extremely careful in granting pardons” since most of those arrested during protests are “thugs and criminals.” The seven pardons granted by Moreno were to those arrested during Correa’s presidency.