There were new reports of torture and ill-treatment of suspects by the police. One possible "disappearance" was reported. The authorities failed to account for victims of "disappearances" in previous years. Eight people were killed by the security forces in circumstances suggesting that they may have been victims of extrajudicial executions. A Bolivian political activist was forcibly returned to Bolivia despite fears for his safety there. The authorities continued to invoke Decree Law 86, issued by the new government of President Sixto Dur n Ballén in 1992. The law allows the armed forces to be used for the control of common crime thought to constitute "a serious state of internal unrest". In March, 100 intellectuals publicly criticized anti-crime operations in which they claimed the security forces "first kill and then ask". During June indigenous groups organized demonstrations in Quito, the capital, in protest against a newly drafted agrarian law; during one of these demonstrations an indigenous leader was killed in circumstances which the authorities had not clarified at the end of the year. Officials of the Tribunal de Garantías Constitucionales (TGC), Tribunal of Constitutional Guarantees, inspected a police centre run by the Oficina de Investigación del Delito (OID), Crime Investigation Office, in Quito. Following the visit, the president of the TGC wrote to the Minister for Government and Police stating that the TGC had found torture instruments in the centre and had no doubt that torture was practised there. As a result, a number of officers were dismissed. A newly appointed commander general of the police was reported as saying in September that the investigative work of the police would be based on respect for human rights. He added that a judicial police force was to be created (see Amnesty International Reports 1992 and 1993). In February Ecuador acceded to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. Numerous cases of torture and ill-treatment of detainees, mostly by police, continued to be reported. José Ignacio Chauvín, aged 17, who had participated in demonstrations on behalf of the "disappeared", was twice detained and tortured by the police in Quito. On 15 January he was reportedly hooded, forced inside a van, kicked and beaten, and subjected to electric shocks to his genitals. He was released after a uniformed police officer ordered the beatings to stop. He was detained a second time on 14 February, taken to a police building, again tortured, and then released. A police investigation into his allegations stalled, apparently because José Ignacio Chauvín was too frightened to appear before the inquiry. Luis Olmedo Aguilera López, a peasant leader from the province of Pichincha, was reportedly severely beaten by members of the OID in Quito. He was detained at his home on 24 February and first taken to a police provisional detention centre, where, according to a police report, he was admitted "without beatings or bruising on his body". The following day he was transferred to the headquarters of the OID. Relatives who saw him there say he appeared to have been severely beaten and was unable to walk. On 2 March he was transferred back to the detention centre, and then to a hospital, where he died the following day. A report by a police doctor indicated that the "probable cause of death" was a generalized infection, but that his body revealed extensive bruising. The authorities did not apparently order an independent investigation into the allegations. Official investigations into cases of torture and ill-treatment were carried out by the same bodies reported to be responsible for the violations. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in April that it had requested the appropriate authorities to conduct detailed and thorough investigations into the alleged torture in 1992 of Víctor Hugo Cadena and of five young artists, and the death in custody of Felipe Moreira Ch vez (see Amnesty International Report 1993). One possible "disappearance" was reported. On 16 January Nixon Alcides Pacheco Guijarro was recruited into the army. Between February and May his mother repeatedly attempted but failed to contact him, despite being told by the military that her son was fulfilling his duties. However, in June the Ministry of National Defence (MND) stated that Nixon Pacheco had deserted in January. In September Nixon Pacheco's mother was approached by two men who claimed to be attached to the MND and told to desist from her inquiries and to look for her son "in the morgue". The vast majority of "disappearances" since the change of government in 1985 remained unresolved. Judicial investigations continued to no avail into the "disappearances" of Marco Antonio Romero Carrasco, detained in 1992, (see Amnesty International Report 1993) and Consuelo Benavides Cevallos, detained in 1985 (see Amnesty International Reports 1987, 1990, 1991 and 1993). Trial proceedings before the Supreme Court against the former commander general of the police and at least eight other officers implicated in the "disappearance" and subsequent killing of the Restrepo brothers had not reached a conclusion by the end of the year (see Amnesty International Reports 1992 and 1993). Eight people were killed in circumstances which suggested they may have been extrajudicially executed. Five of the victims - Wilmer Zambrano Vélez, brothers José Miguel and Segundo Olmedo Caceido, Fernando Calderón Chico, and Antonia Mera de Molineros - were killed in March in three separate incidents which occurred during efforts by police and army to control organized crime in Guayaquil city. The authorities said that the victims had all died as a result of armed confrontations with the security forces, but relatives alleged they had been extrajudicially executed. For instance, the husband of Antonia Mera de Molineros alleged that the police forcibly entered his home, held him at gunpoint, and then shot his 65-year-old wife in cold blood as she emerged from her room. Three brothers, Orestes, Enrique and Fredy Cañola, were arrested on 12 April in the town of Viche, Esmeraldas province, following a fight involving a policeman who later died. The brothers were taken to the police station in Viche, and then put into a vehicle to be taken to a police station in Esmeraldas town. However, they never arrived: their bodies were found in a cemetery at Esmeraldas, reportedly with bullet wounds and bruising. By the end of the year the authorities were not known to have made public the results of any investigations into the manner, causes, and circumstances of these eight deaths. Despite fears that he might be tortured or ill-treated if returned to Bolivia, the Ecuadorian authorities forcibly returned a Bolivian political activist, Luis Alberto Zalles Cueto, in March. Five months later, the TGC resolved that his deportation had been unconstitutional and ordered his return. Amnesty International appealed to the government to ensure the prompt and impartial investigation of the possible "disappearance" of Nixon Pacheco and of allegations of torture and ill-treatment of prisoners and extrajudicial execution. The authorities informed Amnesty International that various investigations had been initiated but gave few details and failed to provide satisfactory information about their outcome. Amnesty International urged the authorities not to forcibly return Luis Alberto Zalles Cueto to Bolivia on the grounds that he would be at risk of serious human rights violations there. In October Amnesty International submitted information about its concerns regarding torture in Ecuador to the UN Committee against Torture, pursuant to Article 20 of the UN Convention against Torture.

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