Swedish programmer and Internet activist Ola Bini has reiterated his innocence and asked the Ecuadorian government for his release.
Bini is currently detained in Quito under suspicion of being a member of an “espionage network” linked to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The Swede is further accused of conspiring with former Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño to destabilize the government, a set of charges that critics say is mere vindictiveness against Wikileaks and anyone associated with the organisation by Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno.
Since his arrest in April in the wake of Assange being evicted from the Ecuadorian embassy, Bini has denied all charges against him and accused the Moreno regime of carrying out a detention that is “improper, illegal and that violates my human and constitutional rights in several points.”
Writing in an open letter published in the Swedish newspaper Expressen, Bini outlines the flimsy evidence presented against him.
“Let’s go back to what you said about me. That I had attacked computer systems, servers and mobile phones. If you know this, you must have evidence, right? Why haven’t you given that evidence to your prosecutor? Because he has no evidence against me. You also said I was fleeing the country and didn’t even had my martial arts training equipment with me, however, in my backpack there are papers that prove I bought the ticket months ago. And the prosecution documents also show I had my equipment with me. So, why did you go on TV and tell the whole country these things?”Ola Bini, Expressen
Bini appeals directly to Moreno to either answer the questions he poses in the letter or put an end his detention, stating that he has had no involvement in what he is accused of and considers Ecuador his home, accusing the Moreno administration of a “personal” vendetta.
“Why did you do all this to me? Do you hate me so much? For what? Yes, I know I’m a friend of your former asylee and you and Mr. Assange have had your differences but, is that really enough to treat me like this?”Ola Bini, Expressen
The detention of Ola Bini is yet another shameful moment for the current Ecuadorian administration whose corruption and illicit activities have been broadcast around the world since the April 11 eviction of Assange, with details of the INA papers scandal and a sizable IMF loan to Ecuador both being widely disseminated across social media and independent news networks.
Released between February and March, the INA Papers are a leak of information from Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno’s Whatsapp, Telegram and Gmail accounts that show evidence of extensive corruption and a lavish lifestyle, including his possession of secret bank accounts. Moreno believed Assange was responsible for the leak, a belief that has been publically rejected by Wikileaks, which many contend explains his vendetta against Assange, Bini and anyone else ever associated with Wikileaks.
Ola Bini’s full letter to Lenin Moreno
Dear President Lenín Moreno:
My name is Ola Bini. I’m honestly not sure if you know who I am or not. You went on national TV a few weeks ago and said some weird things about me, so maybe you have been misinformed.
Let me introduce myself: I am from Sweden (not Russia and not Switzerland), I’ve lived here in Quito, Ecuador for over 5 years. I call Ecuador my home. I like it here. I have my apartment here, my friends, my girlfriend, my work. And during these years, I have contributed modestly maybe, but I do my part for Ecuador. This year I was in the process to apply for a new 2-year visa and after that, I was going to apply for a permanent residency. I’m just saying this to let you know I’m committed to your country.
5 weeks ago I was detained at the Quito airport. This detention was improper, illegally done and broke my human and constitutional rights in a number of ways, and those problems continue to persist during the five weeks I’ve spent in prison.
Now, this is where I’m confused. Why did you do all this to me? Do you hate me so much? For what? Yes, I know I’m a friend of your former asylee and you and Mr. Assange have had your differences but, is that really enough to treat me like this?
Your prosecutor says I’m being investigated for attacking the integrity of computer systems. But he doesn’t say more, except that my books are suspicious. What systems did I attack? When? How? Do you even know? I don’t.
Your judges say I’m a danger to society. They also say there’s a presumption of innocence and that prison doesn’t have to be punitive. Then they sent me to prison. This confuses me too. I thought the very idea of prison was to be a punishment. How can I be presumed innocent and still be sent here? How can I be presumed innocent but also considered a danger to society? I would appreciate if you could clear this up for me.
I’m also thinking of some of the TV spots my lawyer has told me about. For example, your minister of the Interior said in a press conference I was detained, but this happened over three hours before a judge had written my detention order. Is that how the judicial system is supposed to work?
Let’s go back to what you said about me. That I had attacked computer systems, servers and mobile phones. If you know this, you must have evidence, right? Why haven’t you given that evidence to your prosecutor? Because he has no evidence against me. You also said I was fleeing the country and didn’t even had my martial arts training equipment with me, however, in my backpack there are papers that prove I bought the ticket months ago. And the prosecution documents also show I had my equipment with me. So, why did you go on TV and tell the whole country these things?
Another thing said in press conferences is that I had collaborated with Ricardo Patiño and that I had worked to destabilize the government, your government. Let me assure you, I have never met Patiño and I have no interest in destabilizing your government. Of course, I don’t agree with all your policies, I didn’t agree with all your predecessors choices either. I believe in democracy. The people of Ecuador chose you and I believe in Ecuador, that means I want the government of Ecuador to be strong.
Let me be clear. I have never done anything aimed to attack or destabilize your country. That’s not who I am.
Mr. President, I feel like this is personal. If you can, please answer and clarify all my questions and if you can’t, why not stop this investigation now? It seems to me that public opinion is also confused about why you’re doing this to me and they are getting more confused the longer this goes on. In my humble opinion, I think you should stop, let me go and then we can forget this whole embarrassing incident happened.
With cordial greetings,
Ola Bini Cell 10, El Placer, CDP El Inca, Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador
P.S. Mr. President, if you want to respond, please reach me at the above address. If you choose to respond via a public address, know I have no access to TV in this prison, so, in that case, I won’t get your response.
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The Wikileaks Files: The World According to US Empire
By Wikileaks, Introduction by Julian Assange
WikiLeaks came to prominence in 2010 with the release of 251,287 top-secret State Department cables, which revealed to the world what the US government really thinks about national leaders, friendly dictators, and supposed allies. It brought to the surface the dark truths of crimes committed in our name: human rights violations, covert operations, and cover-ups. The WikiLeaks Files presents expert analysis on the most important cables and outlines their historical importance. In a series of chapters dedicated to the various regions of the world, the book explores the machinations of the United States as it imposes its agenda on other nations: a new form of imperialism founded on varied tactics from torture to military action, to trade deals and soft power, in the perpetual pursuit of expanding influence. It illustrates the close relationship between government and big business in promoting US trade. An introduction by Julian Assange exposes the ongoing debates about freedom of information, international surveillance and justice.
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