Civil society organizations reject the criminalization of the defense of digital rights and the misuse of the judicial system in the case of Ola Bini in Ecuador and demand respect for due process and human rights

The organizations and activists undersigned express our concern and firm rejection of the multiple irregularities, illegalities, and violations of due process observed over 5 years in the case of Ola Bini, a programmer and human rights defender. This case has not only exposed critical deficiencies and weaknesses in the Ecuadorian judicial system but has also revealed how government practices continuously threaten the fundamental principles of justice and freedom in Ecuador. The irregularities in the case include:

The sentence issued by judges Pacheco and Fabara, the latter currently under investigation for alleged acts of corruption by the Prosecutor’s Office (, appears to have been influenced by external political pressures, as there is no evidence whatsoever to justify such a sentence. This decision not only ignores the lack of evidence but also sentences Bini to a year in prison and the payment of economic fines, based on the alleged «attempt» to access a telecommunications system of the CNT, an accusation that was not even the subject of the initial crime theory of the Prosecutor’s Office.

The judicial decision not only adds to a terribly irresponsible and manipulated handling of the case but also sets an alarming precedent for freedoms in general.[1] In particular, the criminalization of tools like Tor, which are vital to ensure security and privacy online, along with the attempt to criminalize the acquisition and possession of technical knowledge, points to a dangerous trend of interpreting technological skills as potential threats, rather than recognizing them as essential components for innovation and information security. This approach not only undermines the fundamental rights to privacy and free expression but also endangers the integrity and evolution of a secure digital environment in Ecuador. 

For all the above reasons, we urge the competent authorities to:

  • Review and immediately correct the irregularities presented in this case.
  • Ensure a fair and transparent process in Ola Bini’s appeal and in all judicial cases in the country.
  • Cease the use of judicial and security systems as tools of repression.
  • Adopt measures to strengthen a fair, impartial judicial system free of political influences.
  • Not criminalize individual or collective knowledge or technical capabilities.
  • Not criminalize the use of technological tools that are fundamental to the free exercise of freedom of expression and privacy, essential human rights. 

We also call on the international community and human rights organizations to continue to closely observe this case and demand Ecuador to comply with its international obligations in terms of human rights.

[1] In this regard, the Ola Bini Observation Mission has already expressed the implications for the enforcement of digital rights of a judgment handed down regardless of technical and legal criteria: 

We sign in alphabetical order:

Access Now – Internacional

Article 19 – Internacional

Association for Progressive Communications (APC) – Global

Associació Pangea Coordinadora Comunicació per a la Cooperació – España/Cataluña

Barracon Digital – Honduras

Centro de Documentación en Derechos Humanos “Segundo Montes Mozo S.J.” (CSMM) – Ecuador

Centre for Information Technology and Development – Nigeria

Código Sur – Costa Rica

Conexión Educativa – Ecuador

Cooperativa Autogestionaria Sulá Batsú – Costa Rica

Cooperativa Tierra Común – Mexico

CryptoRave – Brasil

Derechos Digitales – América Latina

Digital Defenders Partnership – Internacional

Electronic Frontier Foundation – Internacional 

Fantsuam Foundation – Nigeria

Front Line Defenders – Internacional

Fundacion Acceso – Costa Rica

Fundación – Bolivia

Fundación Karisma – Colombia

Fundación Openlab – Ecuador

Fundación Regional de Asesoría en Derechos Humanos (INREDH) – Ecuador

JCA-NET – Japan 

Jokkolabs Banjul – Gambia

LaborNet – Estados Unidos Tecnologías Comunitarias – Ecuador

MariaLab – Brasil

May First Movement Technology – Estados Unidos/México

Rhizomatica – México

Saravá – Brasil

SeguDigital – México

Ser Valiente en Red – Perú

SocialTic – México

Sursiendo, Comunicación y Cultura Digital – México

Taller de Comunicación Mujer – Ecuador

TEDIC – Paraguay