REPORT N° 77/03 1 PETITIONS 12.091 AND 172/99 ADMISSIBILITY JUAN CARLOS CHAPARRO ALVAREZ AND FREDDY HERNAN LAPO IÑIGUEZ ECUADOR October 22, 2003 I. SUMMARY 1. On September 8, 1998, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the Commission” or “the IACHR”), received a complaint alleging violation of rights protected in the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter “the American Convention”) by the Republic of Ecuador (hereinafter “the State” or “Ecuador”) to the detriment of Mr. Juan Carlos Chaparro Alvarez, a Chilean national, represented by Dr. Jose Leonardo Obando Laaz, and as of July 2, 2002, by Dr. Xavier Zavala Egas, his Ecuadorian lawyers, (hereinafter “the first petitioner”). The petition claims violation of Articles 7(2), (3), (5) and (6), 21(1) and (2) and 25(1), in connection with Article 1(1) of the American Convention; whereas the revised petition presented on August 15, 2002 claims violation of Articles 5(1), (2), 7(2), (3), (4), (5) and (6), 8(1), (2), 21(1), (2) and 25(1). Several months later, on April 14, 1999, the Commission received a complaint alleging violation of rights protected in the American Convention by Ecuador to the detriment of Mr. Freddy Hernan Lapo Iñiguez, an Ecuadorian national, represented by Mr. Juan Ferrusola Pereira, his lawyer (hereinafter “the second petitioner”). He claims violation of Article 7(2), (3) and (5) in connection with Article 1(1) of the American Convention. The Commission decides to consolidate the two petitions into one case, in conformity with Article 29(1)(d) of its Rules of Procedure, since they involve the same facts. 2. Mr. Chaparro, the first petitioner, maintains that on November 15, 1997, the police, without an arrest warrant and on suspicion of drug trafficking, detained him at his home. On the same day some of the employees of the company which he owned, AISLANTES PLUMAVIT DEL ECUADOR CIA, LTDA. (hereinafter, Plumavit Factory) were also detained. Mr. Chaparro was taken to a prison cell, where he remained for five days for interrogation. During this period it is alleged that the State violated the statutory 24-hour permissible incommunicado detention period; he was not allowed contact with his family nor permitted to consult a private lawyer, nor was the Chilean consulate advised of his detention. He is alleged to have manufactured Styrofoam containers for the export of fish into which narcotics were introduced. It was demonstrated by means of the police expert that the containers which Mr. Chaparro manufactures are distinct from those seized by the police. After 23 days in detention, a detention order was issued for Mr. Chaparro, despite the expert’s evidence and with no legal basis to sustain the measures taken. Mr. Chaparro was accused of being a member of an international criminal syndicate of drug traffickers. At the time that the petition was filed Mr. Chaparro had been in detention for 9 months. He alleges that his detention was based on article 116 of the Drug Law (Ley sobre Sustancias Estupefacientes y Psicotropicas) which was declared unconstitutional by means of Resolution 119 on December 24, 1997. He presented the petition in order to obtain his release from detention. Mr. Chaparro was finally released on August 22, 1999, after having been held in detention for one year, six months and eleven days in the Center of Social Rehabilitation in Guayaquil. Even today the case has still not been completed at the domestic level and is currently suspended as a result of a provisional dismissal in favor of the accused. 2 Mr. Chaparro asserts that he has been ruined and that all of this was done in order to seize his belongings, especially the Plumavit Factory, acquired after twenty five years of honest work in Ecuador and several more in Chile previously. Mr. Chaparro claims that all of this occurred for the purpose of seizing his factory. 1 Dr. Julio Prado Vallejo, an Ecuadorian national, did not participate in the discussion of this case in accordance with Article 17 of the Rules of the Procedure of the IACHR. 2 In October 2003 four years and eleven months had transpired since the initiation of the case without a conclusion having been reached.