GUAYAQUIL/QUITO (Reuters) – Former Ecuadorean vice president Jorge Glas was released from prison on Sunday, after a judge ruled his physical and psychological well-being were at risk, officials and Glas’ supporters said.
Glas had been sentenced to jail in 2017 after a court found him guilty of receiving bribes from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht in return for handing the scandal-ridden firm state contracts. He served four-and-a-half years.
A judge ruled on Saturday that he should be released after a habeas corpus petition, a court in Santa Elena province said in a statement.
“On the aforementioned citizen weigh three sentences, two of them already executed, for the crimes of illicit association and bribery, and a process for embezzlement, whose appeal is still to be resolved,” the attorney general’s office said in a statement.
Videos on social media showed Glas greeting hundreds of supporters as he left jail, while his former boss, ex-President Rafael Correa, tweeted his support.
“Jorge has recovered his liberty through a habeas corpus which determined that his (legal) guarantees have been violated and also that the context of insecurity that exists in the prisons means those centers are absolutely impeded in providing the care that he needs for the health condition Jorge has,” lawmaker and Glas ally Fausto Jarrin told journalists outside the prison in Cotopaxi.
Glas is unable to leave Ecuador and must report to authorities once a month, Jarrin added.
Correa – who has lived in Belgium since he left office in 2017 – himself has been sentenced to eight years for financing his political movement with unfair charges levied on contractors.
Correa has denied wrongdoing in that case and others and said investigations against him are political persecution.
Twenty people were killed at a prison in Cuenca earlier this month, the latest deadly incident in the country’s prisons, where last year violence killed 316 people.
(Reporting by Yury Garcia in Guayaquil and Tito Correa in Quito; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Matthew Lewis)