Ecuador’s Prosecutor’s Office prosecutes the six detainees for the murder of candidate Fernando Villavicencio

Fernando Villavicencio Ecuador

The Ecuadorian Prosecutor’s Office filed charges against the six men arrested for their alleged participation in the assassination of the politician on Wednesday Fernando Villavicencio, candidate for the presidential elections, understanding that the crime has generated “social commotion” and a “high risk of flight” for part of the suspects, who have Colombian nationality.

The Public Ministry exposed 22 “elements of conviction” in a hearing that would support the prosecution of these people, including evidence from the crime scene and the searches carried out, as well as statements from witnesses to the attack that claimed their lives. de Villavicencio after an electoral rally in the Ecuadorian capital, Quito.

“The autopsy protocol indicates that the victim received long-distance shots, while the ballistic report determined that the 2-23 caliber pods match one of the rifles found in the raids, the Prosecutor’s Office stated in its statement, in which it gave also account of a fingerprint found on a motorcycle.The tax investigation will remain open for thirty days.

Villavicencio died the victim of several shots, while nine other people were injured, including an aspiring deputy and three agents responsible for the security of the presidential candidate.

Who hired them?

Villavicencio’s wife, Verónica Sarauz, said she has not yet met with authorities to discuss why the security device failed.

“He was aware that the threats against him were real,” Sarauz told Colombia’s Caracol Radio.

“We know that they are the material authors,” he said of the six defendants. “But we need to know the masterminds, who hired them?”

The government said it is looking for the “intellectual authors” of the murder and promised to increase security in the country to guarantee peaceful elections.

Villavicencio died of head trauma, hemorrhage and a brain laceration caused by a bullet, according to the autopsy cited in the charging documents. He also suffered a skull fracture.

As a labor organizer and later as a journalist, Villavicencio was long exposed to threats for his scathing and meticulously documented allegations of corruption against some of the biggest names in Ecuador’s political and financial establishment.

Presidential candidates have universally condemned the assassination, though Villavicencio’s party has denounced what it calls the “political use” of his death, after accusations were exchanged over allegations of ties to criminal groups.

Two of Villavicencio’s opponents, indigenous candidate Yaku Pérez and law and order candidate Jan Topic, have suspended their campaigns.

Luisa González, who is backed by former President Rafael Correa, a longtime staunch opponent of Villavicencio, and who leads the race with just under 30% voter support, has not suspended her campaign.

Neither did Otto Sonnenholzner, although neither he nor González had public events scheduled for Friday.

Villavicencio, a father and husband, garnered 7.5% support in the polls, which ranked him fifth out of eight candidates.

Violence in Ecuador has escalated in recent years, especially in cities where drug trafficking routes cross such as Guayaquil and Esmeraldas.

Several Latin American countries have suffered similar problems since the coronavirus pandemic.

The president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, who faced impeachment against him, called early elections.

The president has been criticized for failing to suppress the violence, while his government attributes the bloodshed on the streets and in prisons to criminal infighting to control drug trafficking routes used by Mexican cartels, the Albanian mafia and others..

Beyond security, employment and migration are important issues in the presidential race.