Weekly Report - 15 February 2024 (WR-24-06)

ECUADOR: Torture allegations heighten scrutiny on gang crackdown

Nearly six weeks after President Daniel Noboa declared that his government was “at war” with criminal gangs, questions are beginning to be raised about the authorities’ long-term strategy. Whilst the initial state of exception declared by Noboa on 8 January was due to last for 60 days, it is unclear whether Noboa’s subsequent formal declaration of an “internal armed conflict” will extend the timeline of the nationwide military deployment. As the number of arrests continues to climb, scrutiny is intensifying over the treatment of detainees in prisons which are now largely run by military authorities. On 11 February a judge in the port city of Guayaquil ordered the human rights ombudsman to investigate allegations of torture by military officials in several prisons around the country.

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