Ecuador orders arrest of former president Correa

Published: July 04, 2018 15:42:26 | Updated: July 06, 2018 17:13:54


Ecuador's ex-president Rafael Correa. Reuters photo.

A court in Ecuador has ordered the arrest of former president Rafael Correa over his alleged involvement in the 2012 kidnapping of an opponent.

Correa, who now lives in his wife's native Belgium, denies the allegations.

Judge Daniella Camacho said she has alerted Interpol in a bid to have the 55-year-old extradited.

Former lawmaker Fernando Balda was briefly kidnapped in Bogotá, Colombia, where he fled during escalating tensions with Correa, says a BBC report.

He accuses the then-president, who led the Andean nation between 2007 and 2017, of masterminding the abduction.

At the time, Balda faced charges in relation to a failed 2010 coup against Correa, and he was later sentenced to one year in jail for endangering state security.

On Tuesday, the judge said Correa had failed to comply with an order to appear in court in Quito to assist with an investigation into the kidnapping claims.

The ex-president instead presented himself to the Ecuadorean consulate in Brussels, which the judge said was a violation of her orders.

The three-term ex-president has repeatedly insisted to have had nothing to do with the botched abduction - which was intercepted by police after a few hours.

He recently tweeted: "They'll never prove anything, because there is nothing."

He accuses the current president, his former deputy Lenín Moreno, of conducting a smear campaign against him. The once-allied left-wing leaders split very publicly after Moreno's election in May 2017.

Correa's lawyer told journalists that the latest decision was a result of political pressure from Moreno, adding that he would appeal.

"This decision is arbitrary, it is a lie, it is defamatory," Caupolican Ochoa said. "I do not believe they are seeking justice but rather revenge."

Arrest warrants have already been issued for three police intelligence agents, an ex-police commander and a former top intelligence official, who was arrested in Spain last month.

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