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Ecuador police arrest former VP in raid at Mexican embassy, prompting diplomatic severing, outcry

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced on Friday night that he was severing diplomatic relations with Ecuador following the arrest of former Ecuadorian Vice President Jorge Glas.

Ecuadorian police broke through the outer door of the Mexican embassy in Ecuador’s capital Quito late Friday and arrested Glass, who had lived there since December.

Mr Glass sought political asylum at the embassy after being indicted on corruption charges.

“That can’t be happening. It can’t happen. This is crazy,” Roberto Canseco, the head of Mexico’s consulate in Quito, told local reporters while standing outside the embassy shortly after the attack, according to the Associated Press. “We are very concerned because they could have killed him. There is no basis for doing so. This is completely outside the norm.”

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On Friday, April 5, 2024, police invaded the Mexican embassy in Quito, Ecuador. (AP Photo/David Bustillos)

Mexico’s Foreign Secretary Alicia Bárcena posted on social media platform X on Friday that a number of diplomats were injured in the incursion.

Bárcena said Mexico would bring the case to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, to “accuse Ecuador of its responsibility for violations of international law.” She also remembered a Mexican diplomat.

Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Gabriela Sommerfeld told reporters on Saturday that in view of Gras’s “imminent flight risk” and having exhausted all possibilities for diplomatic dialogue with Mexico, President Daniel Novoa was appointed ambassador. He said he had made the decision to enter the building. Mexico granted Mr. Glass asylum hours before the attack. “It is illegal to grant asylum to people who have been convicted of common crimes and who have been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction,” Sommerfeld said.

Authorities are investigating Mr. Glass for alleged wrongdoing while managing reconstruction efforts after the 2016 earthquake that killed hundreds of people.

He was also convicted of bribery and corruption in other cases.

The Organization of American States reminded member states, including Ecuador and Mexico, of their obligation not to “invoke domestic legal norms to justify non-compliance with international obligations.”

ecuador armored vehicle

Military vehicles as police invade the Mexican embassy, ​​arrest former Vice President Jorge Glass, and transport him from detention, Saturday, April 6, 2024, in Quito, Ecuador. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

Spain’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday: “The armed entry into the Mexican embassy in Quito constitutes a violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. We call for respect for international law and harmony between Mexico and Ecuador.” Stated. It is a nation of brotherhood to members of the Spanish and Ibero-American communities. ”

“The United States condemns any violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and takes very seriously the obligation of host states under international law to respect the inviolability of diplomatic missions,” said U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller. “There is,” he said. He called on the two countries to resolve their differences.

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Ecuadorian president and first lady waving

On Friday, April 5, 2024, Ecuadorian President Daniel Novoa arrived with his wife Lavinia Valbonesi at the Carondereto Presidential Palace in Quito. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

Honduran President Xiomara Castro wrote in an article on It was characterized as a violation of international law.

On Saturday, Gras was taken from the attorney general’s office in Quito to the port city of Guayaquil, where he will be held in a maximum-security prison. People gathered outside the prosecutor’s office chanted “good luck” as he left with a convoy of police and military vehicles.

Glass seen in Quito

On August 9, 2017, Vice President Jorge Glass left the Attorney General’s Office after making a voluntary statement regarding his alleged connection to two corruption cases in Quito, Ecuador. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa, File)

Glass’ attorney, Sonia Vela, told The Associated Press that Glass resisted when officers entered the room and tried to put his hands behind his back. She said the officers then “slammed him to the floor and kicked him in the head, spine, legs and hands” and “dragged him when he could no longer walk.”

Vella said the defense team is not allowed to speak to Glass while he is in the prosecutor’s office and is currently pursuing a habeas corpus petition.

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Under the Vienna Convention, diplomatic facilities are considered foreign territory and “inviolable,” and law enforcement from the host country is not allowed to enter them without permission from the ambassador.

Asylum-seekers live in embassies around the world for days or even years, some of which are where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested because British police were unable to enter to arrest him. This includes the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where it was held for seven years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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