A few days after his arrest within the walls of the Mexican embassy in Ecuador, the Ecuadorian National Court of Justice (CNJ) described the arrest of former vice-president Jorge Glas as “illegal and arbitrary” (2013). -2017), Friday April 12. The latter nevertheless remains in prison to serve previous sentences and await a court decision.

The highest Ecuadorian court had been seized by the former vice-president, under an arrest warrant for embezzlement, who demanded his release within the framework of a habeas corpus procedure, making it possible to contest a detention seen as arbitrary.

His arrest on April 5 by Ecuadorian police officers who entered the Mexican embassy in Quito, when he had just been granted asylum by Mexico, caused the breakdown of diplomatic relations between Mexico and Quito and a international outcry.

No search warrant issued

Friday, during the hearing, the CNJ recognized the illegal and arbitrary nature of his arrest. The court relied in particular on the fact that no search warrant had been issued to authorize the police to enter the diplomatic compound.

But the court nevertheless ruled that the former vice-president must remain incarcerated in a high-security prison in Guayaquil, in the southwest of the country, to serve previous convictions in two other corruption cases. Furthermore, Mr. Glas took refuge in the Mexican embassy at the beginning of December 17, before the Ecuadorian justice system ruled on his responsibility in a case – still ongoing – of embezzlement of funds intended for the reconstruction of cities devastated by an earthquake in 2016.

The former vice-president was sentenced in 2020 to eight years in prison, just like former socialist president Rafael Correa, for their responsibility in a system of bribes paid by companies in exchange for contracts. He was released from prison in November 2022 after five years of detention for corruption and embezzlement in another case, benefiting from a conditional release measure which prohibited him from leaving the country and required him to appear regularly in court.

Mexico’s complaint before the ICJ

The legal adviser to Mexico’s foreign ministry, Alejandro Celorio, told Agence France-Presse that his country views the CNJ’s decision with “optimism” because it “confirms” that Mr. Glas is “facing a political persecution.”

Mexico reacted to the intrusion into its embassy by severing diplomatic relations with Quito, then by presenting a complaint against Ecuador on Thursday before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), based in The Hague. In its complaint, Mexico demands that Ecuador be suspended from the United Nations “until it issues a public apology, recognizing violations of the fundamental principles and norms of international law.”

Mr. Celorio told the French press agency that the complaint addressed to the ICJ included a photo of a tank which would have been used in particular by “the Ecuadorian security forces” to “intervene”. He also claimed that the complaint included elements of an alleged intervention by Ecuadorian authorities to limit embassy communications before the police operation.

For his part, Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa defended the raid on the embassy as necessary to apprehend Mr. Glas because he presented an “imminent risk of escape,” saying he was ready to “ resolve any dispute” with Mexico.