Army lieutenant in jail on hate crime charges05 de julio de 2013 09:52
The Pichincha judge, Franz Valverda, accepted the prosecution’s request of remand for army Lt. Fernando E., accused of committing a hate crime and race-based discrimination against Michael Arce, now 20.
Since the creation of the Truth Commission in 2007, this is the first hate crime that makes it to trial in Ecuador. The Commission is investigating 456 cases of human rights violations.
Prosecutor Gina Gómez De la Torre said at the preliminary hearing that her client was the victim of a hate crime when he was a cadet at the Eloy Alfaro military school.
The Afro-Ecuadorian teen enrolled in the school in Sept. 2011. He remained a student only a few weeks before leaving, he says because of the treatment he recieved.
Allegedly, his instructor, Fernando E., punished him constantly and severely. Arce was forced into boxing matches where it was him against five other cadets. The lieutenant would give him 30 seconds to eat meals, says Arce. He would force him to drag himself naked through swampland then stand at attention for hours, a treatment he says none of his classmates recieved.
“We are fighting so that no black person is ever treated this way by the Armed Forces again” Arce’s mother told the Expreso newspaper.
“We don’t want money, we don’t want to take advantage of anyone, we don’t want my son to be admitted back into that school. We just want there to be no more race-based discrimination in Ecuador for anyone named Arce, named Mendez, named Chalá, named Quiñonez,” said the mother.