III. THE POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES A. Position of the petitioner 10. The petitioners state that on the morning of May 16, 1997, Mr. Palma was with his 11 year old son in his vehicle in the district of Manta, in the province of Manabí. They say that at approximately 9:30 a.m., Mr. Palma was intercepted by a white pick-up truck and that three armed men dressed in civilian clothing and wearing ski masks got out of the truck. They maintain that Mr. Palma was detained and made to get in the aforementioned vehicle which then drove off in an unknown direction. The petitioners argue that Mr. Palma’s son, Luis Palma, after having witnessed these events, ran to the house of his mother, Lidia Guadalupe Bravo, in order to tell her what had happened to Mr. Palma. 11. They state that the event was witnessed by people who were in the area of the Ecuadorian Professional Training Service (hereinafter “SECAP”). The petitioners state that the SECAP security guard did not intervene since the people who were in the white truck showed them identification from the Ecuadorian Armed Forces (hereinafter “FAE”) and indicated that it was an official matter. They also maintain that moments before the incident in question took place, these individuals cordially greeted uniformed members of the FAE who were entering the grounds of SECAP. 12. The petitioners assert that on May 17, 1997, Lidia Guadalupe Bravo went to the Eleventh Criminal Court of Manabí and reported that Mr. Palma had been kidnapped. They say that she asked for the corresponding investigations to be initiated to locate her companion since she believed that he was in custody of police or military authorities. 13. The petitioners contend that they presented the proper documents to the Ecuadorian Navy, the Ministry of National Defense, and the Ministry of the Interior, asking them for information about the whereabouts of Mr. Palma. They report, however, that these parties consistently denied that Mr. Palma had been detained by State agents or that he might be held in any of their centers. 14. The petitioners also maintain that on May 30, 1997, they filed a writ of habeas corpus for Mr. Palma with the Mayor’s Office of the Metropolitan District of Quito. They state that the Mayor’s Office communicated with the Head of the Judicial Technical Police, the Director of the Provisional Detention Center, the Director of the Quito Social Rehabilitation Center for Men nº 1, 2, and 3, and the Attorney General saying that any institution that may have detained Mr. Palma must bring him personally to his office on June 6, 1997. However, the petitioners indicate that this did not happen. Finally, they state that on June 13, 1997, the Mayor’s Office accepted the writ of habeas corpus and, based on Article 28 of the Political Constitution of Ecuador in effect at the time,2 it notified the organizations mentioned above that, if Mr. Palma was found detained under their authority, he should be freed. 15. The petitioners report that on May 26, 1997, two dead bodies appeared in the Cañar River located in the district of Naranjal, province of Guayas. They state that three years later, in the year 2000, they discovered that one of these was the body of Mr. Palma. They maintain that the judicial authorities of that district went to the place where the bodies were found and buried them, without carrying out the investigation required to determine the identity of the bodies or look for the people responsible for the two murders and that, because of this, the family members of Mr. Marco Bienvenido Palma Mendoza did not realize that he was dead. 2 Article 28 of the Ecuadorian Constitution of 1979: “[…] the Mayor shall authorize immediate liberty of the claimant if the detained person is not presented, if the warrant is not exhibited, if the warrant does not comply with legal requirements, if procedural errors have been committed, or, in sum, if there is justification or basis for the recourse.”

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