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Latin America: Ecuador Assembly Pardons Hundreds of Drug Mules

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #542)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

Ecuador's constitutional assembly last Friday pardoned hundreds of small-time drug couriers currently sitting in Ecuadorian prisons. Last year, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa proposed the pardons and other drug sentencing reforms, saying it was absurd to sentence low-level couriers to more than a decade in prison for as little as 3.5 ounces of cocaine.

Rafael Correa
The constitutional assembly took over legislative power in the country after suspending the nation's Congress last year. Under the assembly's action, prisoners who had been convicted of carrying 4.4 pounds (2 kilograms) of drugs or less, had served at least 10% of their sentences or one year in prison, and were not repeat offenders were pardoned.

Ernesto Pazmino, director of Ecuador's public defender's office, told the Associated Press the application process was to begin this week, and the government has 30 days to release eligible prisoners.

"The president has come through with his promise, and we appreciate him and the assembly members," Carlo Aragundi, head of a prisoners' organization at a jail in Quito, told the AP. Aragundi estimated that as many as 1,200 prisoners may be eligible.

Although Ecuador produces almost no coca, it is sandwiched between Colombia and Peru, the world's number one and two coca and cocaine producers, and is frequently used as a transit country for cocaine headed to North America. President Correa acknowledged last year that his own father had spent three years in a US prison on drug charges.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

Maybe with a shining example government sponsored insanity will begin to end in other "pais"s as well.

Fri, 07/11/2008 - 2:46pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I can hear Walters crying from here.The insanity of drug prohibition is finally beginning to crumble.I can tell by the reaction from the right wing fanatics that write in the local paper.They have been circling the wagons for months.Not that that's any reason to let the guard down.These people are vicious and mean as hell.

Sat, 07/12/2008 - 3:46am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

jumpin in! it is a shame we don't have our website ready to post translations of reports like that. most people in South America not becoming aware of such progressive moves in the regional chessboard of drug policy.

Tue, 07/22/2008 - 4:46am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

We (South Americans) are aware of what is going on about recent drug policy taken by our governments, I mean.....We ARE THERE. I don't think we do need a translation, what we need is tons of rehab centers and drug campaigns in the US to stop drug trafficking on the first place!

Wed, 07/23/2008 - 12:26pm Permalink

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