The New York Times
April 2, 2002

Ecuador Releases 5 Jailed a Week Ago

Five European environmental advocates detained last week during protests against a new oil pipeline were freed today, the authorities said.
The deputy mayor of Quito, Efrén Cocios, said the five had been unfairly detained and not read the charges against them in their native languages, as stipulated by Ecuadorean law.

The five -- three from Germany, one from France and one from Ireland -- were accused of damaging property during their demonstration.

Last week, the provincial authorities ordered the deportation of 14 foreign environmental advocates, nine of whom left Ecuador this weekend. The five freed today face deportation.

Ecuador's government is counting on the new pipeline to increase oil transport capacity to 850,000 barrels a day, from a current 400,000, providing government coffers with an additional source of revenue.