A court in Ecuador has issued a request to the Belgian authorities to arrest former president Rafael Correa, who is living in exile in Belgium, and deliver him to the Ecuadorian justice system.
Yesterday an appeal court in the capital Quito confirmed a sentence of eight years imprisonment handed down earlier on charges of corruption.
Correa was president of Ecuador from 2007 to 2017, and is accused of using his position to enrich himself and his confederates by taking bribes in return for the award of lucrative government contracts.
An arrest warrant was issued on his conviction in absentia, but Correa had already left the country to travel to Belgium, the native country of his wife.
Yesterday’s ruling also confirmed a ban on Correa standing for or holding public office. He had intended to register for the elections due to take place in February, where he would have stood for the office of vice-president.
“We have been presented with a judgement motivated by revenge, via the institution of the judiciary,” Correa’s lawyer, Fausto Jarrin, told agency AFP.
The courts also ordered the finance ministry to stop paying out Correa’s stipend of $4,200 (€3,600) a month, which he received as former president.
Correa’s successor, and his own former vice-president Lenin Moreno, has let it be known he intends to introduce a bill making it impossible for anyone to be elected president more than twice – a measure clearly aimed directly at Correa.
“The mere mention of the possibility that he could be a candidate is enough to generate this sort of reaction from all of the institutions of the state,” Jarrin said.
Correa also has an outstanding arrest warrant in his name, alleging involvement in the kidnapping of a political opponent, a crime which cannot be tried in his absence.