On April 11, just hours after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested, a Swedish software developer and privacy activist with ties to the publisher was also taken into custody in Ecuador.
Ola Bini has been accused of “attempting to “assault the integrity of computer systems” and remains held in pre-trial detention. The Ecuadorian government has claimed that Bini was part of a blackmailing scheme to force President Lenin Moreno to allow Assange to stay in their London embassy, where he had been protected under political asylum since 2011.
Bini and his supporters maintain that this is untrue and that the Ecuadorian government has no evidence to back up their assertions.
On Friday, the Ecuadorian offices of Telconet were raided by the National Police and a server used by Bini was seized. Ecuadorian news site El Comercio reports that the developer has had a contract with the company to provide physical space for the operation of the server since April, 2015.
The company repeatedly claimed that they had no involvement with what Bini did with his server and happily handed it over to the authorities.
“Our business relationship was strictly limited to the provision of space in our data center and connection via our internet service,” the company said in a statement to El Universo.
The Ecuadorian Attorney General’s office posted a photo of a National Police officer examining the server inside the Teleconet offices, along with a statement saying that it is now at the Laboratory of Forensic Sciences.
— Fiscalía Ecuador (@FiscaliaEcuador) May 18, 2019
In a letter from prison, posted to a website set up to support him, Bini wrote that “maybe me being a martyr, kidnapped by the Ecuador government, will serve to start discussions, catch attention and open new ways of fighting. Maybe it will serve to wake some people up.”
The day that Bini was arrested he had tweeted a news article about how the Ecuadorian government believed that there was someone with ties to WikiLeaks living in their nation. He lamented that it was “worrisome” and that it seemed like “a witch hunt.”
She further said this information soon will be handed over to the Fiscalía for potential prosecution. Very worrisome news – this seems like a witch hunt to me.
— Ola Bini (@olabini) April 11, 2019
Bini has now been jailed for over a month.