U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement on the decision by the Ecuadorian High Court to uphold the conviction of an opposition member of the National Assembly, on charges filed by Correa, and the continued intimidation of independent journalists. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"I'm deeply troubled by the decision of the High Court of Ecuador to uphold charges for over a year sentence against a member of the National Assembly seeking to shine a light on corruption and malfeasance in Correa's government. This abuse of the judiciary -- a political tool for intimidation in this autocrat's hands -- comes soon after police also reportedly raided the home of an independent journalist, seizing his computers, cell phone, and private documents. These abusive actions by Correa and his minions are in keeping with the sweeping and alarmingly restrictive communications law passed last year, which represents a troubling deterioration of press freedom in Ecuador.
"Correa's actions are not of a democratic society, but of an authoritarian police state. Recent years have shown that in Correa's Ecuador, there is no independent judiciary, no free press, and corruption is widespread. Correa cannot be allowed to continue trampling on democratic institutions and Ecuadorians' freedoms without facing the condemnation of responsible nations."
NOTE: Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Congressman Albio Sires (D-NJ) introduced bipartisan legislation, H.R. 1687 - Countering ALBA Act of 2013, urging the President to sanction persons of ALBA nations, who the President determines are responsible for serious human rights abuses against citizens of ALBA countries. The bill also directs the Secretary of State to transmit a comprehensive strategy to ensure that ALBA nations are democratic governments committed to making constitutional changes that would ensure regular free and fair elections and the full enjoyment of basic civil liberties and human rights by the citizens of ALBA countries; and have made demonstrable progress in establishing independent judiciaries and electoral councils.