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Ecuador: Ex-vice president hospitalized after embassy raid

April 9, 2024

Jorge Glas was arrested over the weekend following a rare security raid on the Mexican Embassy in Quito. Prison authorities say he had been refusing to eat.

Ecuador's suspended vice-president Jorge Glas (L) reacts during a hearing of his trial at the headquarters of the National Court of Justice, in Quito, capital of Ecuador, on Dec. 13, 2017.
The former vice president was arrested during a highly controversial raid on the Mexican embassy over the weekendImage: Photoshot/picture alliance

Jorge Glas, the detained former vice president of Ecuador, was hospitalized on Monday, barely three days after his arrest during a highly controversial raid on the Mexican Embassy in Quito, where he was seeking refuge.

Glas fell ill at a prison in Guayaquil, prison authorities said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter.

The former vice president's arrest at the Mexican Embassy has caused a spat between Mexico and Ecuador and invited an outpouring of condemnation on the latter. Quito has been accused of violating the 1961 Vienna Convention governing international relations.

Ecuador draws outrage after raid on Mexico's Quito embassy

What do we know about Glas' condition?

The SNAI prison agency said Glas had been taken to the naval hospital "after refusing to eat food provided [in the jail] during the last 24 hours." It added that he was in a stable condition.

Earlier, Glas' lawyer Sonia Vera expressed in an open letter her "deep worry and alarm" due to her client not being able to speak to his legal team. She added later on Monday that Glas was thrown to the floor and hit in several places during the raid.

"I believe that Jorge Glas is at grave risk, at imminent risk, in the hands of the [Ecuadoran] government. It was a kidnapping, and I believe at any moment they could kill him," Vera told the AFP news agency.

Why was Glas arrested?

Glas had been holed up at the Mexican Embassy in Ecuador's capital since a warrant was issued for his arrest in December. Hours before his arrest on Friday, Mexico announced it would grant him asylum.

Glas was sentenced to six years in prison in 2017, after he was found guilty of receiving bribes from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht in exchange for government contracts.

He served time for the conviction and was released from prison in November 2022, only to face another arrest warrant for allegedly diverting funds intended for reconstruction efforts following a devastating 2015 earthquake.

The former vice president, who had served under leftist Rafael Correa between 2013 and 2017, argued he was being persecuted by the attorney general's office.

Mexico to cut ties with Ecuador after embassy stormed


How has the Glas episode affected Mexico-Ecuador ties?

Mexico's government ended diplomatic ties with Ecuador after the Friday raid.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called the episode a "flagrant violation of international law and the sovereignty of Mexico." He said the Ecuadorian police had used force to enter the embassy.

Ecuadorian President Daniel Noboa shared on Monday a letter on X, saying he was open to fixing relations with Mexico while insisting that the law must always be respected.

"To the Mexican people, I want to express that I will always be willing to resolve any difference, but justice is not up for negotiation," he said. "We could not allow sentenced criminals involved in very serious crimes to be given asylum." 

rmt/jsi (AFP, Reuters)