LATIN-AMERICA

Ecuador’s ex-president accused of kidnapping

QUITO – Former president of Ecuador Rafael Correa has been accused of being the mastermind behind a kidnapping in August 2012. Quito’s National Court of Justice ordered Correa to appear before the court every 15 days. The accused has been living in Belgium for over a year, and his defense alleged a political campaign that prevents a fair trial, as the case is full of irregularities.

Rafael Correa s accused of being the mastermind behind the kidnapping in August 2012 of former opposition deputy Fernando Balda. The accused has to appear before the court every 15 days, and if not he’ll be considered a fugitive. He could also face pre-trial detention and an international arrest warrant.
Balda, the victim, declared that the crime was due to political purposes, and that Correa used state resources to develop a plan that risked Balda’s life in Colombia. “State resources were used to mobilize people from another country. That was because I was an important opposition politician,” said Fernando Balda.

The former opposition deputy is expecting Ecuadorian justice to condemn Correa in absentia. In addition, Balda said that in the next days he will make another denouncement related to the kidnapping, this time based on embezzlement for using state funds to organize the crime. Balda also stated that he will start an information campaign, including a visit to Belgium’s embassy and demand the country to deny Correa asylum.

Response from lawyer

Christophe Marchand, Correa’s lawyer in Belgium, highlighted that the case is full of irregularities. The lawyer told press agency EFE that he would advise against Correa returning to Ecuador. Marchand thinks that Correa risks becoming a prisoner with the aim of excluding him from politics. “There is a systematization of criminal actions against politicians in nearly all countries of Latin America,” said Marchand.

One of the irregularities Correa’s lawyer alleges is the measure of judge Daniella Camacho to demand Correa to appear before the court every 15 days, even though he is living in Belgium. The move, according to Correa’s lawyer, serves as excuse for a pre-trial detention order. Marchand also pointed to reports from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights which detail problems related to political persecution in Ecuador and other Latin American countries.

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