QUITO – An Ecuadorean court has sentenced to 12 years in jail six policemen accused of trying to assassinate President Rafael Correa during a police riot in September 2010 which was considered a coup attempt.
The criminal court of Pichincha province, whose capital is Quito, issued the verdict Tuesday after ratifying the judgment passed on Aug. 1 which held the police officers guilty, El Telegrafo newspaper reported on its website.
On Sept. 30, 2010, a police protest in Quito against bonus cuts in salaries led to a violent uprising in which Correa was attacked and had to seek refuge in a hospital.
Correa, who had gone to the protest site to speak with the officers regarding their concerns, was rescued that night in a military operation amid intense shootings in which 10 people were killed.
The president believes the incident was a coup attempt against his government, instigated by opposition groups and some police officers.
The Ecuadorean Penal Code states that an assassination attempt on the president of the republic or whoever is serving as the head of the executive will be punished with between eight and 12 years in jail if no harm results from the incident.
During the trial, the testimonies of 51 people were recorded, as well as videos and photographs from reporters covering the riots.
On Aug. 1, after the court’s ruling, Public Prosecutor Gustavo Benitez said the verdict was backed by “solid proof” such as the videos provided by several media networks.
Rigoberto Ibarra, representing one of the accused, said he planned to appeal the verdict.
Another lawyer, Patricio Armijos, did not rule out an appeal and said that he could even take the case to the Inter-American Human Rights System.