On November 13 it will be known which Court will judge 2 ex-agents investigated for the plagiarism of Fernando Balda
After Judge Daniella Camacho called Rafael Correa, Pablo Romero, Raúl Chicaiza and Diana Falcón to trial, the defense of the two ex-agents received a judicial notice to advance the process. In that document, it is indicated that on November 13 the Criminal Court will be drawn for the trial for the plagiarism of Fernando Balda.
Thesejudicial proceedings will only be applied to them, since the proceeding againstCorrea and Romero will not be carried out until they are in the country: bothare fugitives. The Penal Code (article 560) says that the trial hearing cannotbe held without the presence of the person being processed.
WillCorrea return to Ecuador? Yesterday Caupolicán Ochoa, lawyer of the formerpresident, maintained that it is necessary “to arrive at a concretesituation, to analyze it and to take a decision”. But minutes before, theformer head of state spoke from Belgium, where he is based since 2017, andruled out his return, saying it would be to “return to be massacred withthe injustice that is experienced in the country.”
Almost simultaneously, the news agency AFP reported that Correa had requested asylum in Belgium and that the petition was filed on June 25. But in statements to EFE, Correa denied that version.
The Foreign Ministry indicated that it has no evidence that it has requested asylum in Belgium. Caupolican Ochoa also referred to the case: “(Correa) says it is not true that they have given him asylum in Belgium. I understand that it is in process. “Currently, Correa weighs a preventive detention order that was issued by Judge Camacho on June 3, after he failed to comply with the order to appear every 15 days in the National Court.
The criminal law states that if the defendant evades, delays, prevents prosecution, the prison order does not expire and will remain in force. What it does prescribe is the crime of kidnapping. According to the previous Penal Code, with which Correa was called to trial on Wednesday, the crime of plagiarism has seven criminal types, from imprisonment (in which case the process prescribes in 5 years from the date of the offense) to imprisonment (that punishes up to 12 years in prison if the victim has been released).
In contrast, in the COIP, in force since 2014, it is said that it prescribes in the same time of the maximum penalty: 13 years. The defense of Rafael Correa warns that the previous Code must be applied.
The kidnapping of Fernando Balda was committed on August 13, 2012, while he remained in Bogotá.
Another of the defendants in this case is Pablo Romero, former director of the Secretariat of Intelligence (Senain). Yesterday, Spanish authorities accepted the request made by Ecuador to extradite him.
The Office of the Prosecutor of Spain sent the Central Court of Instructions No. 5 a request for the trial of extradition against Romero. Ecuador’s request was raised on July 13 and Spain’s response arrived on October 25.
Romero had been arrested in Spain on June 17, but was released on provisional release. When the hearing is held to bring him to Ecuador, the evidence against him will be listed. Then, a judge will decide whether to extradite him or not. Until the close of this edition, the Spanish Central Court did not define a date for this diligence to be carried out.
Romero also weighs an order of preventive detention. On June 27, judges Ivan Saquicela, Marco Rodriguez and Luis Enríquez denied the request that this measure be revoked against them.
Once the court for Raúl Chicaiza and Diana Falcón has been defined, the hearing will be held in 10 days and the Office of the Prosecutor will present the evidence accumulated against both. In this phase, the judges will analyze the material that the defendants contributed when they decided to cooperate with the justice in exchange for a reduction in the sentence.
On that will depend the condemnation that is interposed, which is usually minimal. Chimbo is confident that the Court will reduce the sentence to 10%. This would mean that their defendants would have to be imprisoned for no more than seven and a half months.
They were arrested last March. On June 20, Chicaiza gave his advance testimony and assured that former President Correa phoned him twice: before and after the kidnapping of Balda. In her statement, Judge Camacho pointed out that after compiling the evidence, it can be inferred that the ex-agents did not act voluntarily but received orders within a chain of command.
Camachodid not consider calling for trial for the crime of conspiracy. That decisionwas appealed by the Prosecutor’s Office. The case will have to be resolved in ahearing. There, the Prosecutor’s Office said that it will present the evidenceso that the accused may be called to trial also for this crime. According tothe Comprehensive Criminal Code (Article 370), if proven, those responsiblecould go to jail for three to five years. (I)