Threats to prosecutors and judges investigating acts of corruption increased this year

Guayas, Pichincha, Manabí, El Oro and Los Ríos are the provinces with the highest number of intimidated judicial officials.

A total of 28 prosecutors have been threatened or intimidated so far this year for investigating acts of corruption. This was confirmed by Anahí Briceño, director of the Protection System of the Prosecutor’s Office.

According to that agency, threats to prosecutors increased when 120 investigations were opened for acts of corruption, most of them related to the purchase and sale of medical supplies.

The number of the 28 threatened prosecutors is the highest in the last five years. Since 2015, the Prosecutor’s Office has reported an average of nine threatened investigators each year. These officials were also included in the Prosecutor’s Witness and Victim Protection System. The same is true of judges who are intimidated.

Between 2019 and so far this year, 20 magistrates nationwide have also received protection.

The last case to be made public was that of a Guayaquil judge who heard a process for an alleged crime of organized crime. Three suspects told the magistrate that «he has three options» to act with one of the defendants or he should «abide by the consequences.»

In this case, the defendant’s lawyer assured that these threats were not related to his client. However, after hearing the alert, the Judicial Council activated the security protocol for the judge.

To do this, a request was made to the Ministry of Government in order to order the police to provide security.

In 2019, a Guayas judge was ambushed by a car and two motorcycles as she was leaving work. One of the suspects pointed a firearm at her, insulted her and then fled. This happened one day after the magistrate called three defendants for drug trafficking to trial.

For a year, three officers guarded her and she was transferred to another judicial unit as a protection measure.

Article 17 of the Police Public Protection Activities Regulations mentions that the agents will provide security to officials at risk for six months and can be renewed for one year.

In April 2019, a judge from Pichincha who was in charge of the disappearance of young David Romo was assigned an agent because messages such as “will act thinking of the hard investigation work” and “we are pending of you».

In the same way, it happened to a prosecutor from Quito in 2019 who had to process a case of a gang that was dedicated to robbery outside banks.

A similar case occurred to a Latacunga gender prosecutor after indicting two people for the crime of rape against a minor.

For all these cases, the provinces with the highest number of threatened judicial officials are: Guayas, Pichincha, Manabí, El Oro and Los Ríos.

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