Referential image: PlanV
"When, in the life of international law, can an embassy request an arrest warrant?" asked lawyer Jorge Sosa Meza during an interview about the extradition of Washington Prado Álava, alias Gerald or better known as the Ecuadorian Pablo Escobar. In January 2018, Sosa spoke to the news media Telenorte 24 about the US Embassy's request for Gerald to be arrested and extradited to that country.
Interview with Jorge Sosa in Telenorte 24.
Sosa is now a candidate for judge of the Constitutional Court (CC). He was nominated by the Transparency and Social Control Function. In an interview with PlanV, the jurist affirmed that his participation in that case only responded to a request he received regarding an international law issue.
He also mentioned this in a 2018 interview. Specifically, he said, he was asked why the Ecuadorian authorities would not have complied with what Ecuadorian laws establish to start with the extradition of the drug trafficker to Ecuador. "In Gerald's case there is something quite dubious that left me perplexed. "Both the National Court and the judges who are handling Gerald's cases were giving each other a hard time and both gave evasive answers, neither wanted to initiate the process," he told the local media in 2018.
In the same space, Sosa stated that the Extradition Law requires that the judge handling Gerald's case should request the National Court of Justice to initiate the extradition process in the country where the Ecuadorian was a fugitive, i.e. Colombia. Gerald was captured in the neighboring country in April 2017 and was finally extradited to the US on February 24, 2018.
The Guayaquil lawyer, however, denied this Tuesday, January 18, having been part of the team of lawyers of alias Gerald. "I have not sponsored any cause of Mr. Prado Álava at the national level. This is false news. If they ask me for a consultation at the international level, because I am an expert on the subject of human rights, I have some ten cases won in the Inter-American System, what I was specifically asked is something that is evident in the Constitution. They ask you as a specialist if an Ecuadorian can be extradited from another country, and what am I going to state as a lawyer? I am going to say no".
PlanV asked him if this case could cause any ethical conflict with his nomination to the Court. "Obviously not, I don't have any conflict because I have not sponsored any case. I have not signed anything, in any trial, criminal, civil or constitutional. Nor have I been part of Gerald's team."
Although Sosa does not appear as a lawyer in any of the four criminal proceedings against Gerald, he does appear as a lawyer in the request for precautionary measures in favor of Gerald, from October 2017. In the process he is mentioned with his name, mail and mailbox, along with that of Walter Vallejo, another of Prado Álava's lawyers.
Notifications of the request for injunctive relief were sent to attorneys Sosa and Walter Vallejo.
On November 1, 2017, Judge Patricio Vidal, of the South Criminal Judicial Unit of Guayaquil, accepted the request and ordered that the process for Gerald, to be tried in Ecuador for murder, attempted murder and drug trafficking, be initiated within a maximum period of 72 hours. He also asked Colombia, through its embassy in Ecuador, to report on the legal situation and the physical and prison conditions of Gerald, who was being held in La Picota, a maximum security prison in Bogota. Sosa complained at the time about the lack of response from the Ecuadorian and Colombian justice systems to the ruling.
The interview he gave to Telenorte 24 also shows official Colombian documents addressed to Sosa. The lawyer himself showed them on camera to the journalist. The images recorded an official letter of January 15, 2018 addressed to alias Gerald with a copy to the emails of lawyers Sosa and Walter Vallejo. The response was from Magaly Romero, legal advisor of the Presidency of the Colombian Senate, who tells him that this chamber cannot get involved in judicial matters and therefore will forward the lawyers' request to the Colombian Prosecutor's Office. This institution responded in turn on January 18, 2018 in a letter addressed to Sosa where it denies possible faults to due process in the extradition of Gerald. "I don't get involved in these cases unless I see that there are irregularities" he said in 2018.
In that interview, the lawyer stated that there was a request to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) for precautionary measures against Colombia because, in his opinion, there was no room for the extradition of the Ecuadorian from another country other than his own. And he made the following comparison in the 2018 interview: "The Julian Assange case is identical in substance with the Gerald case. They both want to be extradited to the US from a country that does not correspond to their territorial ground". Now, in the interview with PlanV, he said it was not a request but an alert.
THE INTERVIEW HE GAVE TO TELENORTE 24 ALSO SHOWS OFFICIAL COLOMBIAN DOCUMENTS ADDRESSED TO SOSA. THE LAWYER HIMSELF SHOWED THEM TO A JOURNALIST ON CAMERA.
En publicaciones de medios locales en 2018, Sosa aparece citado como abogado de Gerald. “Muchas veces las notas de prensa hacen una relación genérica. Vallejo sí fue abogado, pero a mí se me consultó únicamente sobre el tema de extradición”.
In local media publications in 2018, Sosa appears frequently as Gerald's attorney. "Many times the press releases make a generic relationship. Vallejo was indeed a lawyer, but I was consulted only on the extradition issue."
Sosa submitted a 406-page résumé for the Constitutional Court judges' competition. The document even has an index of chapters containing: work experience, professional titles, awards, seminars, publications, and judgments and cases before the Inter-American System.
Sosa took eight cases to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the IACHR, including the case of Melba Suarez Peralta for medical malpractice, the case of Rafael Cuesta Caputi who complained about the lack of investigations into a bomb that exploded in his hands during his journalistic activities; the case of two Ecuadorian students who traveled to Chile and were killed during the Pinochet dictatorship, among others.
But in the course, Sosa's nomination was challenged. Natalia Roca, an activist, questioned the lawyer. One of the requirements to be a judge of the CC is that the candidate has not belonged in the last 10 years to the board of any political party. Sosa, according to Roca, did not prove such requirement.In the jurist's folder there is a certificate from the National Electoral Council, dated November 22, 2021, which states that he is not affiliated to any political party or organization. For Roca it was insufficient, since "he has actively participated in the national politics of the political movement Fuerza Ecuador (FE) as a candidate for assemblyman for district 2 in Guayas in 2017".
In the documents accompanying the complaint, there is a tweet from FE that presents him as a member of the legal commission of that party, according to information published on FE's Twitter. In FE's work plan for 2017 to 2021, the first signature was Sosa's. For the lawyer, the important thing at this point is to have never belonged to a political party directive or been affiliated. "You have other judges who have been candidates. That is why I think it is a stigma, it has to do with expressions of hate and discrimination.For example, judge Iván Saquisela was affiliated to the ID and elected councilman, doctor (Enrique) Herrería was twice assemblyman for the Christian Socialist Party, doctor Nina Pacari was also assemblywoman for Pachakutik. Even Dr. Hernán Salgado was a militant in the Socialist Party".
Mañana a las 8h00 por Radio Forever estará el Dr. Jorge Sosa Meza @ZADIG357, miembro de la comisión Jurídica de #FE pic.twitter.com/GUwCvQnusA— FUERZA ECUADOR (@fuerza_ecuador) June 13, 2016
Roca also mentioned that Sosa owed alimony for three years and that he only became current with his obligations one day before being nominated. Another of the requirements to be a member of the CC is not to have this type of debts. "It is a judgment that does not generate alimony because it was suspended due to the fact that I have had custody of my son since 2017," Sosa stated. The two challenges were rejected.
In 2020 he was advisor to Sofia Almeida, president of the Council of Citizen Participation and Social Control (CPCCS). Sosa has been close to the family of the CPCCS president. He was an advisor to Assemblyman Luis Almeida, of the PSC. Sosa sponsored an international lawsuit when the government of Rafael Correa withdrew one of the frequencies of Radio Morena, owned by him. He was also a lawyer for Pedro Almeida, who was appointed in 2021 as Undersecretary of Ports and Maritime and River Transportation of the Ministry of Transportation and Public Works. Sofía Almeida is the daughter of Pedro Almeida, Luis' brother.
Other public positions that Sosa registers in his resume is that of having been an advisor in the Prefecture of Guayas during the administration of Jimmy Jairala.