The Ombudsman of Ecuador announced Monday that it will ask the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to issue precautionary measures in favor of a woman who lost an eye in the protests last October and who, according to her, has been threatened by law enforcement officers.
The Ombudsman, Freddy Carrión, said in a press conference that his institution has taken two actions in favor of Jhajaira Urresta, a young woman who lost an eye after being hit by a tear bomb shot during the repression recorded last 12 October in the neighborhoods of Quito.
"We have been struck by" this situation of "persecution" and "intimidation that is undergoing" Urresta, so, in addition to the precautionary measures requested of the IACHR, the Ecuadorian State has been requested to cease "any type of repression "or pressure against people who report possible police abuse, Carrión said.
His announcement came the same day that a Truth Commission, integrated at the request of the Ombudsman, began collecting testimonies of possible human rights violations during protests in early October against a decree that eliminated price subsidies of gasoline.
The objective of the measures promoted by the Ombudsman's Office is to "provide and guarantee" the right of individuals to report their cases to the Commission and that they "can do so with peace of mind," Carrión added in the statements disseminated through social networks.
On his side, Jhajaira Urresta indicated that he has submitted his complaint to the Ombudsman's Office for the "intimidation" he has suffered from agents who, he said, insulted him outside his home.
"The threat was direct" so that he would not denounce the gendarmes for the aggression suffered last October 12, he added.
Urresta said that the agent who fired the tear gas and that caused the loss of his eye has not been presented in the process that has started, so that his action will also fall on the direct heads of the police officers who repressed the protesters.
In that sense, he also held the Minister of Government (Interior), María Paula Romo, and the President of the Republic, Lenín Moreno, responsible for having ordered the strong repression.
The Ombudsman, after pointing out the case of Urresta, said that a technical team of his entity supports the research work undertaken by the Commission for Truth and Justice, which seeks to investigate the events that occurred during the national strike of the people which took place between October 3 and 13.
Sybel Martínez, president of that Special Commission, in another press conference, announced the mechanisms that will be opened to receive today the testimonies related to possible violations of human rights during the protests.
"The tools that guarantee the justice and reparation of the victims who suffered violations of their human rights are being sought," Martínez added, specifying that the version collection process will conclude on February 14.
"Once the information for this investigation has been collected, the corresponding recommendations and observations will be provided through a final report that will be delivered by the Special Commission for Truth and Justice," the commissioner added.
On the other hand, another member of that Commission, jurist Xavier Zavala, stressed the importance of differentiating and determining human rights violations by the State and the "crimes" eventually committed by citizens during the violent October demonstrations.
The latter, Zavala added, should be referred to the competent institutions for these cases, such as the State Attorney General's Office.