In the police part it is indicated why Luis and Raúl were arrested and says that it is because of “his suspicious attitude”. Everything happened on March 23, 2015, when agents of Liberty, in Santa Elena, made a patrol and when passing through the market they observed that Luis was carrying a bag and Raúl, a black sheath.
It seemed strange to them. The uniformed ones intercepted both, put them against the wall and seized them. They found a CPU, monitor, speaker, keyboard and other objects, “whose origin could not be justified”. Without further evidence, Luis and Raúl were tried for the crime of receiving stolen goods. A judge sentenced them to six months in jail.
Four years later, this file reached the Constitutional Court (CC) to be analyzed. Last May, the entity reviewed the case and declared that a part of the brief related to the crime of reception had errors and that in applying it, the presumption of innocence was violated. In addition, it allowed for “selective and discriminatory prosecution”.
Raúl believes that his trial was influenced by the fact that he had criminal antecedents. But he assures that the computer was his, that it was damaged and he took it to a technician. His problem was not having invoices. At the trial, the agents claimed that the same day of the arrest there was a robbery in an educational unit of the Freedom and that from there the machine was stolen. However, at the hearing it was proved that it was another device.
After more than six months in prison, the judge ordered to pay USD 1 062 for a fine. “Comprehensive reparation is not established, because the victim has not been determined, since the information provided by the Director of the educational unit differs from the specific characteristics of the evidence,” stated the judgment.
For the CC, the unconstitutionality was found in the second part of Article 202 of the Criminal Code (COIP). This said: The person who moves, custody, sell or keep objects … “without having the documents or contracts that justify their ownership or possession,” will be sanctioned with penalties of six months to two years in prison.
After analysis, the Court eliminated that phrase. That is, judges can no longer sentence people for not having invoices for their assets. From 2014 to April of this year, the Office of the Prosecutor recorded 22 277 cases of reception of objects. Esteban was also arrested for a “suspicious attitude.” It happened in April of 2017.
He says that he was moving from home and while he was loading the belongings in a van, the police arrived and asked for invoices. “I’m going to tell you why they arrested me: for my skin color. It’s everything, “he told the judge. The young Afro-Ecuadorian told that a neighbor called the police and reported him for robbery.
He was taken to the Prosecutor’s Office and was detained for 24 hours until the flagrancy hearing. There, the hostess witnessed and said that her tenant was moving out of the house. But he did not have bills. The judge opened a file to be investigated, meanwhile ordered his release.
The case is still open in the Quitumbe Prosecutor’s Office in Quito. Carlos Tapia, a merchant at the Montúfar Shopping Center in Quito, also had a similar situation. He says that in 2018, the police carried out an anti-caching operation in that establishment.
“All the locals lowered the Lanford, but since I had nothing to hide I left open”. The agents entered their premises, checked all the merchandise and found a new sound equipment. He said that the bills were lost and the uniformed ones took the merchandise, but they did not arrest Carlos.
Two days later, he found the documents of the sound equipment. When he wanted to recover it, he was already in a chain of custody, in the warehouse of the Judicial Police. To get him out, he needed to hire a lawyer that cost him $ 300 and start a procedure in the Office of the Prosecutor.
“I bought the equipment at USD 150, to recover it I needed twice as much, so I better gave it for lost. But I did feel that everything that happened was very unfair. ” Stalin Arteaga, vice president of the Montúfar Shopping Center, says there is a prejudice against this place and for that reason the police do constant operations.
In one of those procedures, the agents took eight new phones as evidence of the crime of receiving. The owner did not have the bills at the time, but presented them three days later and tried to recover the goods.
The procedure lasted one year. When they returned the equipment, they had lost their commercial value. “The law was very hard on us; all for having business here. ” (I)