Gunmen Kill Head Of Ecuador Prison Where Deadly Riots Broke Out

This handout file photo released by the SNAI prison authority and taken on November 18, 2022, shows security forces during an operative at Pichincha 1 prison in Quito on 18 November 2022. (Photo by SNAI / AFP)

 

The warden of an Ecuadoran prison where deadly riots broke out two weeks ago was killed by gunmen on Thursday, the federal prisons agency announced.

Retired police colonel Santiago Loza took up his post as head of Quito’s Pichincha 1 prison on November 9.

But just over a week later, on November 18, riots broke out after gang leaders were transferred to another facility, with ten prisoners dying in the brawl.

Loza “has been the victim of a deadly attack” on a side road in Quito, the SNAI federal prisons agency said in a statement.

Witnesses said Loza was driving his car when people on a motorcycle shot and killed him, the police said.

Since February 2021, more than a dozen gang-related riots have broken out at Ecuador’s overcrowded prisons, leaving some 400 inmates dead.

The SNAI has pledged to reinforce its prisons and address the overcapacity.

“We repudiate this cowardly act committed in the midst of the transformation process, which we have undertaken as an institution, for the security and control of detention centers,” added the SNAI.

On Monday, Ecuadoran authorities announced the deployment of 1,461 new prison guards joining the current team of about 1,500 officers, who at times have been severely outnumbered in a country with 32,000 inmates.

While Ecuador does not have large drug production or cartels, it has become a significant conduit for cocaine from neighboring Colombia and Peru, due to weaker controls at its main port and its dollar economy.

Mexican, Colombian and Balkan mafias are all involved in the trade, pitting local gangs against each other as they jockey for alliances and control of drug-smuggling routes.

Senegal Beat Ecuador, Become First African Side To Reach Knock-outs

Senegal’s players celebrate scoring their second goal during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Ecuador and Senegal at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on November 29, 2022. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP)

 

Senegal have qualified for the knockout phase of the 2022 World Cup after beating Ecuador 1-2 in a Group A match on Tuesday, becoming the first African side to reach that feat in Qatar. 

The Netherlands’ dominant victory over Qatar meant only a win would see Senegal through to the knockouts from Group A, while Ecuador would have progressed with a draw.

Senegal opened the scoring through Ismaila Sarr’s penalty late in the first half, but despite managing to keep Ecuador captain Enner Valencia quiet throughout, Brighton’s Moises Caicedo levelled in the 67th minute before Koulibaly sent his team through and Ecuador home.

Senegal manager Aliou Cisse promised before the game his experienced side “would not overthink” the occasion and it was the Africans who opened the game furiously, with Everton’s Idrissa Gana Gueye lashing the ball just wide of an open goal after only three minutes.

READ ALSO: Fernandes Double Sends Portugal Into World Cup Knock-Outs

Less than a minute later, Ecuador goalkeeper Hernan Galindez needed to bail out his side’s high backline, sliding in to stifle a counter well outside his box.

On the 10 minute mark, Senegal’s Boulaye Dia found himself one-on-one with Galindez, but he cut the ball just wide of the post.

Seemingly sparked into life by Senegal’s fierce opening, Ecuador pushed forward and won a free-kick 30 metres from goal, with the South Americans taking the opportunity for a rare breather before Valencia slammed the ball into the wall.

After the furious opening exchanges, both sides began to settle and the first half looked set to end goalless before Ecuador defender Piero Hincapie clattered into Sarr, giving referee Clement Turpin no choice but to point to the spot.

Sarr stepped up and coolly dispatched a fine spot-kick past Galindez, maintaining eye contact with the keeper as the ball went in.

Ecuador started the second half fresher and more determined, perhaps reassured that the Netherlands’ dominance over Qatar meant they only needed a draw to go through.

From a free-kick, defender Felix Torres rose high to head the ball on to Caicedo, who was waiting at the far post and slammed the ball home.

Senegal struck back immediately and in almost identical fashion, with Koulibaly lurking unmarked at the far post following a free-kick which was deflected into his path by Hincapie.

Coming into the match on a yellow card, Gueye picked up a second-half booking and will miss Senegal’s last-16 game against the winners of Group B.

Qatar Become First World Cup Hosts To Lose Opener With Ecuador Defeat

Qatar players leave the pitch after they lost the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match to Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR / AFP)

 

Qatar became the first home team to lose their opening World Cup match as Ecuador cruised to a 2-0 victory over the hosts, with Enner Valencia scoring twice in the tournament curtain-raiser on Sunday.

Asian champions Qatar enjoyed the backing of the 67,000-strong crowd Al Bayt Stadium, but could not follow a glitzy opening ceremony with a statement performance.

Ecuador thought they had made a dream start when Valencia headed in in the third minute, only for the goal to be ruled out by VAR for an offside in the build-up.

It was only a brief reprieve for Qatar, with Valencia putting the South American side ahead from the penalty spot in the 16th minute before doubling his tally just after the half-hour mark.

Qatar improved in the second period, but by the end of the 90 minutes the buzz of the opening ceremony was a distant memory.

“Our nerves betrayed us, we started really badly,” said Qatar coach Felix Sanchez. “We were unable to string together four passes in a row.”

Qatar will likely need to avoid defeat in their second Group A match against Senegal on Friday just to prevent the ignominy of becoming only the second hosts, after South Africa in 2010, to be dumped out in the first round.

Hopes were high among the crowd that Qatar could make a winning start, but the deficiencies of the World Cup debutants were ruthlessly exposed by an impressive Ecuador.

“It was a day we all dreamed of,” said Ecuador left-back Pervis Estupinan. “We are all very proud. We all know what an incredible captain we have with Enner Valencia.”

Qatar failed even to muster a shot on target in the game, with spectators filing out of the stands long before the final whistle.

READ ALSO: Empty Seats Tell Story As Qatar World Cup Party Falls Flat

VAR

The South Americans had the ball in the net inside three minutes when captain Valencia nodded home from Felix Torres’s miscued overhead kick.

VAR officials spotted an offside against Michael Estrada in the build-up after Torres challenged for the ball with Qatar goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb.

Ecuador were completely dominant in the early exchanges and were awarded a penalty after Valencia was tripped by Al Sheeb when through on goal.

The former West Ham forward coolly sent Al Sheeb the wrong way from the spot, stroking the ball into the bottom corner.

Ecuador did not have to wait long to double their advantage. After a surging run from Moises Caicedo, right-back Angelo Preciado swung in a cross which Valencia met with a thumping header.

Even the small section of noticeably enthusiastic Qatari fans behind the goal, who arrived later than most of the crowd and wore matching T-shirts, briefly fell silent.

Almoez Ali, the hero of Qatar’s 2019 Asian Cup success, should have pulled one back on the stroke of half-time but could only steer a free header wide from eight yards out.

Ecuador allowed Qatar more of the ball after the break but still looked the more dangerous side, with Romario Ibarra bringing a diving save from Al Sheeb.

Valencia hobbled off in the 77th minute after being on the wrong end of a series of heavy challenges.

“I hope to be ready (for Friday’s game against the Netherlands),” said the forward after taking knocks to his knee and ankle.

By the time the official attendance of around 67,000 was read out over the tannoy, the stadium was barely half full.

AFP

Ecuador’s Valencia Scores First Goal Of 2022 World Cup

Ecuador's forward Enner Valencia (L) scores his team's first goal from the penalty spot during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)
Ecuador’s forward Enner Valencia (L) scores his team’s first goal from the penalty spot during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Ecuador striker Enner Valencia stroked home a 16th-minute penalty to score the first goal of the 2022 World Cup on Sunday.

Valencia coolly converted from the spot to put Ecuador 1-0 up against hosts Qatar after an incident-packed start to the tournament.

Minutes earlier, Valencia had seen what looked like an opening goal disallowed for a controversial offside following an intervention by VAR.

World Cup Hosts Qatar Lose 2-0 To Ecuador In Tournament Opener

Ecuador's forward Enner Valencia (L) scores his team's first goal from the penalty spot during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)
Ecuador’s forward Enner Valencia (L) scores his team’s first goal from the penalty spot during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)

 

Qatar became the first home team to lose their opening World Cup match as Ecuador cruised to a 2-0 victory over the hosts, with Enner Valencia scoring twice in the tournament curtain-raiser on Sunday.

Asian champions Qatar enjoyed the backing of the majority of the crowd at the 60,000-capacity Al Bayt Stadium, but could not follow a glitzy opening ceremony with a statement performance.

Ecuador thought they had made a dream start when they silenced the home fans as Valencia headed in, only for the goal to be ruled out by VAR for an offside in the build-up.

Valencia did break the deadlock with a penalty in the 16th minute and doubled his tally just after the half-hour mark.

Qatar improved slightly in the second period, but by the end of the 90 minutes, the excitement which greeted the build-up — featuring Morgan Freeman and BTS star Jung Kook — was a distant memory as thousands of fans left early amid a deflated atmosphere.

Felix Sanchez’s Qatar will likely need a positive result in their second Group A match against Senegal on Friday just to avoid the ignominy of becoming only the second hosts, after South Africa in 2010, to be dumped out in the first round.

Hopes were high among the crowd that Qatar could make a winning start, but the deficiencies of the World Cup debutants were ruthlessly exposed by an impressive Ecuador.

Qatar failed to even muster a shot on target in the game, with spectators filing out of the stands long before the final whistle.

In the 92-year history of the tournament, home countries had previously won 16 and drawn six of their opening matches.

Early VAR intervention

The South Americans had the ball in the net inside three minutes when captain Valencia nodded home from Felix Torres’ miscued overhead kick.

VAR officials spotted an offside against Michael Estrada in the build-up after Torres challenged for the ball with Qatar goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb.

Ecuador were completely dominant in the early exchanges, though, and were awarded a penalty after Valencia was tripped by Al Sheeb when through on goal.

The former West Ham forward coolly sent Al Sheeb the wrong way from the spot and stroked the ball into the bottom corner to score his 36th international goal.

Ecuador did not have to wait long to double their advantage as, after a surging run from Moises Caicedo, right-back Angelo Preciado swung in a cross which Valencia met with a thumping header.

Even the small section of noticeably enthusiastic Qatari fans situated behind the goal, who arrived together after the majority of the crowd and wore matching t-shirts, briefly fell silent.

Almoez Ali, the hero of Qatar’s 2019 Asian Cup success, should have pulled one back on the stroke of half-time but could only steer a free header wide from eight yards out.

Ecuador allowed Qatar more of the ball after the break but still looked the more dangerous side, with Romario Ibarra bringing a diving save from Al Sheeb.

Valencia hobbled off in the 77th minute after being on the wrong end of a series of heavy challenges, although that would only have taken some of the shine off a famous night for Ecuador.

By the time an official attendance of 67,372 was read out over the tannoy, the stadium was barely half full.

AFP

Qatar Star Ali Starts World Cup Opener Against Ecuador

Qatar's goalkeeper #01 Saad Al Sheeb warms up ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)
Qatar’s goalkeeper #01 Saad Al Sheeb warms up ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group A football match between Qatar and Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of Doha on November 20, 2022. (Photo by Manan VATSYAYANA / AFP)

 

Qatar striker Almoez Ali was named in the starting line-up for the hosts’ opening match of the 2022 World Cup against Ecuador at the Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday.

Coach Felix Sanchez opted to play three at the back, with Ali joined up front by Akram Afif.

The 26-year-old Ali was the hero of Qatar’s 2019 Asian Cup triumph, scoring nine goals.

Ecuador boss Gustavo Alfaro named captain Enner Valencia in the team, with in-form Brighton man Moises Caicedo in midfield.

Qatar, playing at the tournament for the first time, are hoping to avoid becoming the first home nation in men’s World Cup history to lose their opening game.

Qatar (5-3-2)

Saad Alsheeb; Pedro Miguel, Bassam Hisham, Boualem Khoukhi, Abdelkarim Hassan, Homam Ahmed; Karim Boudiaf, Abdulaziz Hatem, Hassan Al Haydos (capt); Almoez Ali, Akram Afif

Coach: Felix Sanchez (ESP)

Ecuador (4-4-2)

Hernan Galindez; Angelo Preciado, Felix Torres, Piero Hincapie, Pervis Estupinan; Gonzalo Plata, Moises Caicedo, Jhegson Mendez, Romario Ibarra; Enner Valencia (capt), Michael Estrada

Coach: Gustavo Alfaro (ARG)

Referee: Daniele Orsato (ITA)

At Least 15 Dead In New Ecuador Prison Riot

Prison violence killed more than 300 inmates in 2021 and the situation continued in 2022.

 

 

At least 15 prisoners died Monday in the latest unrest inside Ecuador’s prison system, officials in the South American country reported.

The agency that manages Ecuador’s prisons, SNAI, gave the death toll in a statement which also said 21 people were injured in the clashes between inmates.

It had earlier announced that tactical units conducted operations to regain control of the facility, located in the Ecuadoran city of Latacunga.

The prison houses about 4,300 prisoners and is one of the largest in the country.

Violence in Ecuador’s prisons, where drug gangs vie for power, is often carried out with knives and sometimes involves beheadings. The violence has left more than 400 prisoners dead since February 2021.

On Monday, inmates climbed onto roofs while detonations were heard, according to television news footage.

Jorge Flores, SNAI’s deputy director, told reporters that Leandro Norero appeared to be “among the victims”.

Norero, suspected of links to drug trafficking, became one of the inmate leaders.

Known by the alias “El Patron”, he was arrested last May for allegations of money laundering, in an operation in which $6.4 million, 24 gold bars, firearms and ammunition were allegedly seized.

“Regarding the death of the defendant #LeandroN., #FiscaliaEc reports that after the corresponding identification experts will be able to confirm or not his death,” said the country’s prosecuting agency.

Military and police tactical units worked to regain control of the prison, SNAI said, in what provincial authorities called a successful operation.

“Control was retaken,” Cotopaxi provincial governor Oswaldo Coronel announced in the evening.

– ‘Torture centers’ –
According to official estimates, the country’s overcrowded prisons contain about 35,000 inmates, many of them members of gangs linked to drug trafficking.

A government committee noted in April that Ecuadorian prisons “are considered warehouses of human beings and torture centers.”

Bordered by Colombia and Peru, the world’s largest cocaine producers, Ecuador serves as a departure port for drug shipments, primarily to the United States and Europe.

In 2021, Ecuador seized a record 210 tons of drugs, mostly cocaine.

Last year, the country of 17.7 million people had a murder rate of 14 per 100,000, nearly double that of 2020.

In a bid to improve the living conditions in Ecuador’s prisons, President Guillermo Lasso launched an inmate census in August.

During a television interview on Monday, he offered “a message of condolence and solidarity with the families of those who died today in (the prison)”.

FIFA Quash Appeal To Kick Ecuador Out Of World Cup

FIFA logo.

 

 

FIFA on Friday rejected an attempt by Chile and Peru to have Ecuador thrown out of the World Cup, where they will play the opening match against Qatar.

The complaint centred around Byron Castillo, a defender who played in eight of Ecuador’s qualifiers for the World Cup.

The Chilean football federation (FFCh) said there was evidence that Castillo was born in Colombia in July 1995 and not in Playas, Ecuador in November 1998.

The FFCh alleged “use of a falsified birth certificate, false declaration of age and false nationality”.

Following a hearing on Thursday, FIFA’s Appeal Committee confirmed an earlier ruling by the Disciplinary Committee.

“On the basis of the documents presented, the player was to be considered as holding permanent Ecuadorian nationality,” FIFA said.

With just over nine weeks until the opening game on November 20, Chile or Peru can still appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Ecuador finished fourth in South American World Cup qualifying to secure the last automatic regional berth.

They have been drawn against Qatar, Netherlands and Senegal at the finals.

Peru finished fifth and lost a playoff to Australia.

Chile ended up seventh, five points behind Ecuador. Castillo appeared in both matches between the two countries — a win for Ecuador and a draw.

Ecuador To Cut Fuel Prices That Sparked Weeks Of Protests

A file photo of Ecuador President Guillermo Lasso

 

President Guillermo Lasso announced Sunday that Ecuador will cut fuel prices, which had sparked weeks of demonstrations, though not by as much as protesters have demanded.

“I have decided to reduce the price of gasoline by 10 cents per gallon and diesel also by 10 cents per gallon,” he said in a television and radio address.

The powerful Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Conaie), which since June 13 has been blocking roads and occupying oil wells in different parts of the country, had demanded a reduction in prices by an additional 30 cents and 35 cents, respectively.

Earlier on Sunday, the country’s energy ministry warned that oil production had reached a “critical” level and could be halted entirely within 48 hours if the protests and roadblocks continued.

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The protests, which are also against rising living costs, have crippled transportation in Ecuador, with roadblocks set up in 19 of the oil-rich country’s 24 provinces.

“Oil production is at a critical level,” the ministry said in a statement.

“If this situation continues, the country’s oil production will be suspended in less than 48 hours as vandalism, the seizure of oil wells and road closures have prevented the transport of equipment and diesel needed to keep operations going.”

“Today, the figures show a decrease of more than 50 percent” in production, which was at roughly 520,000 barrels per day before the protests, it said.

Ecuador’s economy is highly dependent on oil revenues, with 65 percent of output exported in the first four months of 2022.

 Impeachment Debate 

Late on Sunday, the country’s parliament suspended seven hours of debate over whether to impeach Lasso, with proceedings set to resume on Tuesday. At least 20 members of parliament are still due to speak.

The president’s impeachment would require 92 of the 137 possible votes in the National Assembly, where the opposition holds a fragmented majority. MPs will have a maximum of 72 hours to vote following the end of the debate.

An estimated 14,000 protesters have taken part in the nationwide demonstrations, most of them in Quito.

Shortages are already being reported in the capital, where prices have soared.

Violence between police and demonstrators has reportedly left five dead, while about 500 people have been injured.

Earlier in the day, Production Minister Julio Jose Prado said that public-private economic losses from the protests totaled $500 million.

“Each additional day of downtime represents $40 to $50 million lost,” he said on Sunday.

Overall losses since the protests began include 8.5 million liters of milk worth $13 million as well as $90 million in agricultural goods and livestock.

The tourism industry has seen cancellations rise to 80 percent, with losses amounting to at least $50 million.

Additionally, “in the flower farm sector, 12 days of shutdown resulted in $30 million in losses and damage to trucks and farms,” Prado said.

AFP

Ecuador Prison Riot Leaves 44 Dead, 108 On The Run

Handout photo released by the Ecuadorean Interior Ministry of an operation at the Bellavista prison after a riot, in Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas, Ecuador, on May 9, 2022.  (Photo by ECUADOREAN INTERIOR MINISTRY / AFP)

 

 

At least 44 inmates died on Monday in Ecuador’s latest grisly prison riot, the public prosecutor said, as another 100 prisoners managed to escape.

Authorities said a fight broke out between the rival Los Lobos and R7 gangs inside the Bellavista prison in Santo Domingo de los Colorados, in the center of Ecuador some 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Quito.

During the riot, dozens of inmates tried to escape.

Police chief Fausto Salinas told reporters that 108 were missing after another 112 escaped prisoners were recaptured.

The South American country’s prison authority SNAI said it has activated security protocols to contain the “disturbances to order.”

Six gang leaders were transferred from Bellavista to two maximum security prisons, the interior ministry said.

Interior Minister Patricio Carrillo had initially claimed authorities were in control of the situation and that all escaped prisoners had been recaptured.

Inmates with facial injuries were taken by truck and ambulance to medical facilities while family members of those incarcerated gathered at the prison looking for information, AFP reporters at the scene said.

– ‘Mutilated bodies’ –
Prior to this one, around 350 inmates had been killed in five separate prison riots since February 2021.

Just last month, at least 20 inmates died inside the El Turi prison in Cuenca, southern Ecuador.

President Guillermo Lasso insists the problem inside the facilities mirrors that outside, where drug gangs are vying for control of trafficking routes.

Those rivalries among inmates sometimes explode into violence, with some prisoners hacked to death or beheaded with machetes.

“The majority of victims, if not almost 100 percent, were killed with knives and not guns,” said Carrillo.

“Their mutilated bodies were left where they were.”

The prisoners were killed in their cells and common rooms, after which inmates then used guns to try to escape the facility.

Authorities have said they will carry out a search for weapons and transfer gang leaders to a different prison in Guayas province.

“This is the unfortunate result of gang violence,” Lasso, who is on a state visit to Israel, wrote on Twitter.

He also expressed “condolences to relatives” of the victims.

Even with greater investment in the prison system, the creation of a commission to pacify facilities and new policies such as the holding of the most dangerous prisoners at a single penitentiary, have not reduced the bloody violence.

Overcrowding is another problem, with 35,000 detainees in 65 prisons that only have a capacity for 30,000 inmates.

The 1,200-capacity Bellavista prison houses 1,700 inmates.

Ecuador has also seen a rise in street crime and drug trafficking which the government has tried to tackle by declaring a state of emergency in the three worst affected provinces: Guayas, Manabi and Esmeraldas.

The country seized a record 210 tons of drugs in 2021 and has already seized another 82 tons this year.

Ecuador, which borders the world’s two largest producers of cocaine, Colombia and Peru, is often used as a jumping off point to export the white powder to the United States and Europe.

Ecuador Declares State Of Emergency In Three Provinces Over Drug Violence

A handout picture released by the Ecuadorean Presidency shows Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso holding a face mask as he makes an announcement in Quito on April 28, 2022. Ecuadorian Presidency / AFP

 

Ecuadoran President Guillermo Lasso announced Friday he had decreed a state of emergency for two months in three provinces with the highest registered levels of violence due to drug trafficking.

“I have declared a state of exception in the (coastal) provinces of Guayas, Manabi, and Esmeraldas, effective from midnight tonight,” he said in a speech broadcast by state media.

Under the state of emergency, he had ordered the mobilization of 4,000 police and 5,000 military personnel to the provinces. A curfew will also be enforced between 11:00 pm and 5:00 am for certain areas, such as the town of Duran, located near the port of Guayaquil.

In February, two bodies were discovered suspended from a pedestrian bridge in Duran, a method similar to Mexican cartel crimes.

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Drug trafficking in Ecuador has led to an increase in crime, which has left 1,255 people dead since the start of the year, according to official figures.

About 440 crimes have occurred in Guayaquil, the country’s commercial center and the provincial capital of Guayas, and Duran.

Since February 2021, there have also been several massacres in Ecuador between imprisoned gang members linked to drug trafficking, resulting in 350 deaths.

Ecuador To Pardon 5,000 Prisoners To Tackle Overcrowding

FILE PHOTO: Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso

 

Ecuador’s President Guillermo Lasso announced Tuesday some 5,000 prisoners would be pardoned to reduce overcrowding in the country’s prisons, which were hit with riots that left more than 320 inmates dead in 2021.

“I hope that at least 5,000 people deprived of their freedom will be released,” the president told reporters.

He said he aimed “to end overcrowding by the end of the year and thus have a much more favorable environment for security and for social rehabilitation inside the prisons.”

Ecuador’s 65 prisons have the capacity for 30,000 inmates but house some 39,000, equivalent to 30 percent overcrowding.

READ ALSO: Germany Halts Controversial Russian Pipeline Project

Some 15,000 of the prisoners have not been sentenced.

More than 320 inmates were killed in 2021 in a surge of violence blamed on fighting between rival drug groups in Ecuador, nestled between the world’s biggest cocaine producers, Colombia and Peru.

Lasso signed a decree Monday to establish the conditions and system for pardons.

The effort will target prisoners charged with theft, fraud or breach of trust, local media reported.

AFP