EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 28/01/93
UA 23/93 Death Threats, Torture and Harassment 29 January 1993
ECUADOR José Ignacio CHAUVIN
Amnesty International is concerned about the reported death threats and torture
and harassment of José Ignacio Chuavin by members of the police during January
1993 in Quito, the capital.
According to reports, José Ignacio Chauvin, a 17-year-old schoolboy, was
detained in Quito, after leaving a poetry recital commemorating the fifth
anniversary of the "disappearance" of the Restrepo brothers (See Amnesty
International Annual Report 1992). He was reportedly detained and hooded by
some six people in plain clothes, who forced him inside a van where he was
kicked, beaten and had electricity applied to his genitals with an instrument
that discharges electrical impulses. He fell unconscious and came round when
some water was thrown over him. Another man dressed in civilian clothes then
reportedly entered the van and beat him further with a kind of glove containing
crushed glass which caused him numerous wounds on his hands, chest, head and
stomach. This man also threatened to throw José Ignacio Chauvin from a
foot-bridge. Finally a uniformed police officer entered the van and gave orders
to stop beating him. José Ignacio Chauvin was then left on the street.
The death threats and torture were denounced to a local human rights
organization, to the Tribunal de Garantías Constitucionales (Tribunal of
Constitutional Guarantees) and to Roberto Dunn Barreiro, Minister of Government
and Police. The latter is reported to have stated to the press that the
denunciation of torture inside a police van was fantasy.
According to reports, the following day, while José Ignacio Chuavin was
in his home in Quito, an unidentified person shouted at him through an open
window: "I am going to kill you, you son of a bitch".
As a result of the above events, José Ignacio Chauvin went to stay with relatives
in Loja province. On the night of 22 and 23 January he noticed a blue vehicle
without number plates and tinted windows parked in front of the house.
Since the publication of an official report in September 1991 into the 1988
"disappearance" of the Restrepo brothers, which concluded that a branch of
the National Police was responsible for the brothers' "disappearance", there
have been weekly vigils in a public square in Quito as part of a campaign to
ensure those responsible be brought to trial and convicted.
Judicial proceedings were initiated in 1991 against a number of police officers
accused of involvement in the "disappearance". However, a fear by many people