Seventeen captives were freed from what is being described as a “gay addiction” torture clinic in Ecuador on Thursday.
Several of the patients freed during the raid, including a 15-year-old, were found “barely alive” living in inhumane conditions with some reporting they were being raped and electrocuted in attempts to “cure them” of their homosexuality.
Authorities arrested seven people following a dawn raid on the Union and Hope Clinic in Pisuli, located north of Quito, a facility which claims to treat their patient’s drug and alcohol problems. But one victim claims she was forced to stand barefoot in a shallow pool of dirty water that was rigged with an electrical charge.
“These people were being held against their will, overcrowded, in degrading, unhealthy conditions,” a justice official said, AFP reports. “They were sleeping on the floor. They had no sewer system.”
The justice official also confirmed the minor was being held prisoner at the ‘addiction clinic’ to cure him of a ‘behavioral problem’.
All 17 captives were taken to a hospital for recovery.
In July, the Ecuadorian government acknowledged the existence of a network of more than 80 unlicensed clinics in the South American Country who specialize in treating addictions and ‘curing’ homosexuality by regularly torturing their patients. At least two patients have died from their ‘treatments’ at these facilities.
Authorities discovered the unlicensed clinic while on the hunt for 22-year-old student David Romo, also believed to be gay, who disappeared on May 16 (pictured below).
Police believe he was held at the Union and Hope Clinic before being transfered to another clinic.
In another case, a young woman named Zulema, came forward last June and said she had been placed in a clinic in Napo by her family to “cure” her of being a lesbian. Zulema said she suffered prolonged physical and psychological attacks during her torture at the facility.
Since March 2012, 18 centres for addiction treatment have been closed — 15 for human rights violations and three for health violations.
[Image Credit: FiscaliaEcuador]