The Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs today issued a note of protest for the hasty dissemination of information from Colombia in the case of the press team of the newspaper “El Comercio”, kidnapped last March and killed in captivity.
The protest was expressed in a letter sent by the chancellor of Ecuador, José Valencia, to his colleague from Colombia, María Ángela Holguín, and released today in Quito by the National Secretariat of Communication (Secom).
In it, Valencia refers to information revealed by the Ministry of Defense of Colombia on the process of identifying three bodies found, which could belong to the press team consisting of Javier Ortega (journalist), Paúl Rivas (photographer) and Efraín Segarra (driver).
In the letter, Valencia explains that the relatives of the press team have sent him his “extreme frustration and pain over the hasty publication of forensic data of the process of identification of the alleged bodies of his relatives, which is carried out in the city of Cali. ”
In the midst of the expectation of receiving the results of ongoing examinations, he says, “it has been very painful for the relatives to learn that news not yet definitive was published on social networks, when they had not been informed in advance or had not been informed, requested consent for the dissemination of such data “.
In the letter, refers to a message posted on Twitter through the account of the Ministry of Defense of Colombia, which indicates that the police of that country and its area of Legal Medicine “report that dental letters give more certainty about the identities of the bodies of the Ecuadorian journalists found, 99%. However, they also advance the respective DNA tests. ”
The advance of forensic information “without full scientific verification, as the message itself reveals,” violates the protocols established for that purpose, including those of the International Red Cross, causes psychological suffering to the families of the victims and constitutes a lack of respect for the memory of journalists and their loved ones, underlines the official note.
It also indicates that the partial dissemination of information, if necessary, should be consulted in advance, “for sensitivity and sensitivity, with the families of victims.”
With this, the Government of Ecuador transmits to Colombia, through Holguín, “its note of protest for the aforementioned conduct of the Colombian defense and police authorities,” he points out.
In the letter, the Government of Colombia is requested to begin an early investigation of the facts and “apply the sanctions of the case” to those who, with their “hasty and insensitive conduct, have caused additional psychological stress” to the families of the journalists Ecuadorians
In the letter, Valencia asks Holguin to transmit to the competent authorities of their country the request of Quito that in the future information about the process of forensic identification will be disseminated with “strict adherence to the protocols of the International Red Cross.”
In addition, that the progress of the investigations be previously informed, with the “discretion and due respect”, to the relatives of the victims.
The relatives of the victims, who had reported their annoyance due to the hasty revelations through social networks, are in Colombia, where they traveled with Ecuadorian authorities to follow up on the process of identification of the corpses.
Ortega, Rivas and Segarra were kidnapped on March 26 in the Mataje area of the Esmeraldas province on the border with Colombia, and on April 13 the Ecuadorian authorities confirmed that they had been killed by FARC dissidents.
Last Thursday the Colombian president, Juan Manuel Santos, informed that the authorities of his country found four corpses, three of which are believed to be from the journalistic team.
The governments of both countries attribute the kidnapping of the team, as well as of a couple of Ecuadorian civilians in the area of the common border, to a dissident group of the FARC, calling itself “Oliver Sinisterra”, led by alias “Guacho”, and He assumed the authorship of these actions in several press releases and videos to which the authorities give credibility. (I)