Ecuador: Julio Marcelo Prieto Mendez Guadalupe de Heredia, Alejandro Ponce Villacis, and four others

Julio Marcelo Prieto Méndez, male, member of a legal team representing indigenous communities taking legal action against the multinational oil company Chevron Texaco for failing to clean up the pollution allegedly caused by decades of drilling in Sucumbios.

On May 19th, 2006 Julio Marcelo Prieto Méndez’s office was broken into, in what appears to be the latest attempt to stop him and his colleagues from carrying out their work. Amnesty International is seriously concerned for their safety.

In the early hours of May 19th, 2006 security guards informed Julio Marcelo Prieto Méndez that his office, in the capital Quito, had been broken into. Nothing was apparently taken despite the fact it contained expensive equipment. However, someone had gone through the paper files. Julio Marcelo Prieto Méndez filed a complaint with the attorney general’s office in Quito on May 28th, 2006. It is not known if the police have investigated the incident.

In 2005 and 2006 Amnesty International has documented several acts of intimidation, death threats and attacks against six of those named above. The organization has also received reports of a previous break-in at the offices of Alejandro Ponce Villacís. On that occasion the burglars took three computers and a hard disk, leaving behind other valuable equipment and money.

Despite the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ordering the Exuadorean government to provide protection to the legal team mentioned above, they have yet to do so.


Letter by Isabel Stramwasser sent on August 2, 2006