Former president Rafael Correa, who lives in Belgium, should return to Ecuador to appear before the court that ordered him to be remanded in custody for his alleged participation in the kidnapping of an opponent in 2012, President Lenin Moreno said Thursday.
“I believe that President Correa should come, he should come, and sometimes he would really like to be innocent of what he is accused of,” Moreno said in a meeting with the foreign press in Quito.
Moreno was vice president of Correa between 2007 and 2013. Both maintain a power struggle that led the crisis to the ruling party, in power for a decade.
The president added that “it is not pleasant to have been a vice president on two occasions of a person who has had authoritarian behavior” and during whose mandate “they have been carried out clandestinely, underground, kidnappings, human rights violations and murders”.
The Ecuadorian justice dictated order of preventive prison and activated a red circular of the Interpol for extradition purposes against Correa, who lives in Belgium with his family after leaving power in May of 2017.
The Office of the Prosecutor investigates the former president for the supposed crimes of conspiracy and kidnapping of the opponent Fernando Balda in Bogotá in 2012. The ex-legislator deputy accuses Correa of ordering his brief kidnapping.
Moreno said: “I’m scared to know that the young idealist I met in 2006 has strangely, sinisterly, become a character of that quality.”
Correa told AFP on Wednesday that returning to Ecuador would be “almost a suicide,” because he believes he has “no guarantees,” and hinted at the possibility of seeking asylum in Belgium, estimating that the country would “never” process his extradition. .
When consulting Moreno about Correa’s argument – that he is a political persecuted – the president answered: “the same thing can be done (Joaquín) ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán. Anyone can do the same … and always find a lawyer who finds serious arguments to declare persecuted politically. ”
“The only thing we want is for there to be truth and justice, nothing more, the truth defends itself,” said Moreno, The Associated Press explained.
After the judicial decision, Correa received the support of presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia and Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, which generated a diplomatic offensive by Ecuador.
Quito called its ambassador in La Paz for consultations and suspended the trip of its new representative in Caracas.
Moreno considered “unfortunate” the statements of Morales and Maduro, who denounced a “politicization of Ecuadorian justice” and “persecution” against Correa, respectively.
“We have taken our resolutions independently without anyone ingesting our decision and we have been respectful of the autonomy of each of those countries, and we demand the same kind of respect,” Moreno said.
To confront the possible kidnapping trial, Correa must be present in Ecuador because the legislation prevents the process in absentia for that crime.
The so-called ‘Balda case’ is currently in the fiscal investigation phase, so the former socialist ruler could be dismissed before the trial call. (I)