The Ecuadorian Prosecutor’s Office request the inclusion of a Police second lieutenant as responsible for femicide by omission in the case of Maria Belen Bernalallegedly murdered inside the Higher School of Police at the hands of her husband, a lieutenant who is on the run.
In the event that this second lieutenant is finally included in the case, he will be the third person involved in the case, since in addition to Germán Cáceres, the main suspect in the crime, a cadet who is in provisional prison is also being prosecuted.
The case of María Belén Bernal It has become the most emblematic face of violence against women in Ecuador, in a year 2022 that will end as the most violent since the crime of femicide was criminalized in the country in 2014 and statistics began to be compiled.
Since the beginning of the year, there have been 273 femicides in Ecuador, according to data collected by the Village Foundation with the support of the Spotlight Initiativein which the European Union and the United Nations.
However, the data from the Council of the Judiciary reflect 345 violent deaths of womenof which only 70 have been prosecuted in the justice system under the crime of femicide.
Bernal, a 34-year-old lawyer, disappeared on September 11 when she went to visit Cáceres at the facilities of the Higher Police School, located north of Quito, and her body was found eleven days later on a nearby hill, wrapped in a blanket and with a sign of strangulation, according to the autopsy.
The victim’s mother, Elizabeth Otavalo, has assured that there is responsibility of the State in the murder of his daughter for taking place inside a headquarters of the state security forces and has denounced obstacles to the progress of the investigation, while demanding to find Cáceres, who has an international arrest warrant.