The indult took by surprise the indigenous leader Pepe Acacho. He was living his seventeenth day in the prison of Macas, when he received the news of his release after receiving the condoning of the sentence by President Lenin Moreno.
At 7:00 pm last Wednesday he left. No one was waiting outside the detention center. Although his family and friends knew that the pardon was in process, they did not know when it would be issued. Acacho was arrested on September 17 and two days later his defense requested the presidential pardon.
The interlocutor was María Paula Romo, Minister of the Interior. She met with Jaime Vargas, president of Conaie, and lawyer Julio César Sarango. Moreno decided to condemn an eight-month sentence for obstructing roads. The process was for a social protest of 2009. Acacho was sentenced to 12 years, for alleged terrorist actions. Since he took office in the Presidency, Moreno has signed 17 decrees with pardons for 20 people.
Of these, seven have been for indigenous leaders, due to incidents in protests in the previous regime. They are Patricio Meza, José Tubón, José Manuel de la Cruz, Elvis Guamán, Segundo Pilatasig, Tomás Jimpikit Tseremp and Acacho. The latter believes that it is a good sign of the Government, which – believe – have two objectives. First, appease the mood of the indigenous movement, which has threatened mobilizations. And also to continue the dialogues that, in addition to the pardons, have brought results such as the return of the headquarters of the Conaie, the offer of an indigenous university, among others.
On political issues, Moreno also pardoned Gerardo Portillo, exponent of the state contracts with Rafael Correa’s brother. He was accused of false testimony and sentenced to one year in prison. The other pardons have been for humanitarian issues. Josefa Castillo, who was serving a 12-year sentence for environmental damage, was forgiven for being an adult and having a high disability rate.
There were also four pardons to people involved in hydrocarbon crimes, specifically smuggling fuel at the borders. According to the Penal Code, the pardon is granted to sentenced prisoners and with good behavior. For this reason, the indigenous leader Pedro Mashant has not yet been pardoned. He is involved in the same case of his partner Pepe Luis Acacho, but he is not detained. The same goes for Pablo Chambers, also an exponent of the Fabricio Correa contract case. Last June, the indigenous movement asked the government for 20 pardons, of which six have been granted.
In addition, the Conaie, and its political arm Pachakutik, is demanding in the National Assembly the granting of amnesties for other leaders without sentence. In total, 177 were requested, but only one has been finalized. In the Legislative a regulation is prepared. (I)