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Authorities release former radio director accused of terrorism and sabotage

(Fundamedios/IFEX) - On 8 February 2011, José Acacho, former director of the radio station La Voz de Arutam and the leader of the Shuar Federation, was released from prison after a writ of habeas corpus filed after his detention on 1 February was accepted. The writ was filed to appeal proceedings launched against Acacho, who was accused of sabotage and terrorism by allegedly using the radio station to instigate the public to protest.

According to an article published by Andes, a state-owned news agency, judge María Cristina Narváez, of the Pichincha Provincial Court of Justice, accepted the writ of habeas corpus in favor of Acacho and indigenous leaders Pedro Masiant and Fidel Kaniras. The judge decided that the preventive prison sentence they were facing was "illegal" and ordered their immediate release.

After his release, Acacho told the media that the three men "walked out through the same door through which they walked in, upholding the honor and dignity of the Shuar nation and the Ecuadorian people".

"We will continue to express ourselves freely, we will continue to think as free people with the energy, courage and bravery of our God Arutam," Acacho said.

The acting judge of the Macas Court of Justice had issued the preventive prison sentence against Acacho and the two indigenous leaders, suspected of alleged sabotage, murder and terrorism in connection with a 30 September 2009 uprising in the Ecuadorian Amazon which had resulted in the death of a teacher, Bosco Wisum.

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