Villavicencio: Family of assassinated Ecuadorian presidential candidate accuse state of ‘murder by willful omission’



The family of assassinated Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio has accused the state of the crime of “murder by willful omission” two days before polls open on Sunday.

The Ecuadorian Prosecutor’s Office confirmed to CNN that they received a complaint from the family on Friday.

The complaint names President Guillermo Lasso and the Minister of the Interior, Juan Zapata, essentially accusing the government of failing to protect him.

“They had to watch over the life of Fernando Villavicencio, knowing that he was a journalist who had [received] many threats,” said the family’s lawyer, Marco Yaulema.

The family argued that Villavicencio had stated publicly in the past that he had received threats from various criminal groups that, according to him, controlled the Ecuadorian state.

Villavicencio was shot dead as he was leaving a campaign rally at a school north of the capital Quito on August 9, just 10 days before the first round of the presidential election was set to take place.

The murder of Villavicencio, an outspoken anti-corruption candidate and former investigative journalist, has shaken the country ahead of this Sunday’s crucial presidential and legislative elections. It has also brought international attention to the powerful criminal organizations driving the violence that has plagued Ecuador.

In a press conference on Friday, Ecuador’s Interior Minister Zapata said that two internal investigations had been opened into the police and the results of the report could be ready next week.

Regarding the complaint, Zapata said that they respected the family’s decision and that they are within their rights: “If they believe that it is necessary, we can only respond through the legal basis that we have.”

President Lasso said in a statement Friday it was “unacceptable” that the actions of Ecuadorian authorities against Villavicencio were considered “premeditated.”

The Lasso government added that it rejected the complaints and asked that “the case not be politicized and that the justice system be allowed to move forward with the investigations and reach a procedural truth.”

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