A defiant Eduardo del Pozo says he will not apologize to President Rafael Correa for comments he made during a June radio interview. Del Pozo, Quito vice-mayor, has been sentenced to 15 days in jail and fined $90 for “dishonoring” the president. The sentence, issued by a Quito court, also requires that he make a public apology
At a Tuesday news conference, del Pozo said he did not mention Correa in the interview and that his remarks were of a “general political nature.”
According to court records, del Pozo accused Correa of not paying taxes on financial legal judgements and of moving money from Ecuador to off-shore bank accounts, including one in Belgium where he owns a home and plans to relocate when he leaves office in 2017. The record also states that del Pozo made disparaging comments about Ecuador’s court system, claiming Correa could have political opponents arrested, convicted and jailed at his discretion.
“My fight is for the citizens of Ecuador, for freedom of speech and for freedom from government intimidation,” del Pozo said at the press conference. “I find it amazing that in this modern age, basic freedoms are being shut down for petty political reasons. The actions of the government in my case are nothing more than a way to generate fear and to keep the people silent,” he.
Caupolicán Ochoa, Correa’s lawyer responded to del Pozo late Tuesday, saying that the case had nothing to do with politics but simply with the fact that the president was slandered.
Del Pozo plans to appeal the conviction.