QUITO – Ecuador’s National Court of Justice accepted on Tuesday a request from prosecutors seeking to have former President Rafael Correa – currently living in Belgium, his wife’s homeland – arrested for purposes of extradition.
The judge in the case, Daniella Camacho, said she would submit a request to Interpol for Correa’s capture, ruling that he had violated her orders.
Correa is accused of orchestrating the 2012 kidnapping of a former opposition lawmaker, Fernando Balda, who had fled to Colombia after being sentenced to two years in prison for slander against the ex-president.
Last month, Camacho agreed to prosecutors’ request that he be linked to the proceedings.
The former head of state, in office from 2007-2017, had been ordered by Camacho to appear before the National Court of Justice every two weeks.
Instead, Correa presented himself on Monday before Ecuador’s consulate in Brussels.
The attempted kidnapping of the former member of Ecuador’s unicameral National Assembly occurred in Colombia on the night of Aug. 13, 2012, when four men and a woman shoved him into a vehicle and held him against his will until he was rescued about an hour and a half later by Colombian police.
In a recent interview with EFE, Balda said there was solid evidence that Correa had given the order to abduct him.
Correa, who has said he would not rule out seeking asylum in Belgium or another country, says there is a complete lack of evidence and that he is a victim of political and media persecution.
On Tuesday, he said the arrest order was part of a political conspiracy.
Balda, leader of the Patriotic Society party, denounced the kidnapping in 2012, but it was not until this year – under President Lenin Moreno – that prosecutors launched an investigation.
Moreno, who took office in May of last year, had served as Correa’s vice president and was his hand-picked successor.
But he distanced himself from Correa in late July 2017, accusing his leftist predecessor in a speech of having left the country in a “critical” financial situation.