JudgeDaniella Camacho, of the National Court of Justice, made her decision after 40days of analyzing the case. Yesterday, she called for the trial of formerPresident Rafael Correa for the kidnapping of Fernando Balda.
The decision includes Pablo Romero, former Secretary of Intelligence, and detained police agents, Raúl Chicaiza and Diana Falcón. In addition, for Correa and Romero, fugitives in Europe, he ordered that their bank accounts be frozen for an amount “not greater than the fine and the integral reparation of the victim,” Camacho added, without detailing a monetary value.
She said she will also insist on Interpol to broadcast the red broadcast and proceed to locate and capture Correa. Caupolicán Ochoa, lawyer of the former president, said he will call Correa in the next few days to analyze and decide whether or not to return to the country. The resolution of the judge was announced after the September 28 hearing was suspended preparatory trial.
In that diligence, Diego Chimbo, lawyer of the policemen, requested that the preventive prison of his clients be lifted and replaced by house arrest. That request was made by Chimbo after the visit made by Assemblywoman Sofía Espín to Falcón, supposedly to ask her to change her testimony that blames Correa.
Yesterday, at the oral hearing, the judge ruled on this request. She decided that both ex agents were still being held in prisons, since he considered that their homes did not meet the security conditions for ordering house arrest. However, she indicated that inside the jail “the security will be guaranteed” of the defendants, who are also protected witnesses.
About the type of crime, Camacho described the case as a kidnapping and not as an illegal association for the purpose of kidnapping, as the Prosecutor’s Office had maintained since the criminal proceedings began last January.
Ruth Palacios, representative of the entity, said she will appeal the decision of the judge. In practice, the change in crime means that Correa and the other suspects are tried under the previous Criminal Code, the lawyers said. However, the lawyers explained that the possible penalty that would be applied would be the slightest.
This is included in the current Comprehensive Criminal Code and is five to seven years in prison. While with the previous rule, the crime of kidnapping is sanctioned up to 12 years in prison, when there is abuse to the victim. The magistrate began the hearing yesterday with a recount of the evidence and versions presented by both the Prosecutor’s Office and the lawyers of the defendants.
Outside the Court a group of sympathizers of the former president congregated. Their attitude went from the shouts and slogans addressed to the press, to the insults against Felipe Rodríguez, Balda’s lawyer. The uproar did not extend, since the riot police cordoned off the perimeter of entrance to the Court.
Inside, supporters, both Correa and Balda, took over the room. At 6:30 p.m., when the judge announced her resolution, the former president’s supporters staged another protest outside the court and threw objects.
Inside, Balda said that the next step is to wait for a report from the Comptroller’s Office about the money that was used for his kidnapping and that came out of the special expenses of the Senain.
Oncethe document is ready, he will file a complaint for alleged embezzlement.Meanwhile, the visit made by Assemblywoman Espín to Falcón resulted in thebeginning of a criminal proceeding. Yesterday Ivan Saquicela, judge of theNational Court, asked the Assembly to lift the immunity of the legislator toprocess it. (I)