Supporters of jailed Ecuador V.P. ask UN to intervene


Friends and supporters of jailed former Vice President Jorge Glas said Wednesday that they requested the United Nations to intervene to urge that Ecuador's courts reverse the decision to transfer him from a prison in Quito to a dangerous, overcrowded penitentiary far from the capital.

Glas, who went on a hunger strike on Oct. 22 to protest the transfer, was taken to a hospital in Quito on Wednesday based on the recommendation of doctors at Latacunga maximum-security prison.

The erstwhile vice president, who denies any wrongdoing, was ousted months after taking office in May 2017 along with President Lenin Moreno. Glas was subsequently convicted of corruption.

Ricardo Patiño, the country's former foreign minister, told a press conference that a request was delivered to the UN offices in Quito and to the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, asking them to support the petition to transfer Glas to the prison in Quito.

Patiño said that the conditions in Latacunga prison, a two-hour drive from Quito, were "terrible and disturbing" for a former vice president.

He said he had requested that the Red Cross visit Glas and that Ecuador's Catholic bishops conference intervene in the matter.

Edison Ramos, head of the Carlos Andrade Marin Hospital in Quito, confirmed that Glas had been admitted after midnight Tuesday.

He said Glas was admitted at around 1:30 am and that the former vice president was "awake, conscious, alert, stable, and without any sign of neurological deterioration."

Ramos said Glas was partially dehydrated, which is why he was administered intravenous fluids.

Mireya Cardenas, a close associate of Glas, told a press conference that the prisoner suffers from ankylosing spondylitis, a disease that affects his immune system.

Patiño and others have insisted that Glas - once the right hand of Rafael Correa, Ecuador's president from 2007 to 2017 - is innocent of all charges and the victim of political and media persecution.

After serving as Correa's vice president from May 2013 until the latter left office four years later, Glas continued to be the country's No. 2 official under Moreno.

Moreno also once served as Correa's vice president and was his hand-picked successor.

But Moreno distanced himself from Correa in July 2017, saying the country had greater equality but that he had inherited a "critical" financial situation due to high levels of public debt.

Moreno then stripped Glas of his official duties after the vice president accused him of having provided false economic data aimed at tarnishing the legacy of Correa's Citizens' Revolution.

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