A serious obstacle will have to overcome the correístas on their way to recover space in political life. If things go as expected by the Attorney General and defense of Fernando Balda, former President Rafael Correa will continue to “see the bulls from afar” and his followers will have to settle for having their leader free but hundreds of kilometers.
Today, Judge Daniella Camacho, reinstated the trial preparatory hearing for alleged illicit association and plagiarism in the case of political activist Fernando Balda who is following against Correa; the former Secretary of Intelligence, Pablo Romero, and the intelligence ex-agents, Raúl Chicaiza and Diana Falcón. For the Prosecutor’s Office they are the perpetrators of the crime and the prosecutor Paúl Pérez asked on Tuesday to be called to trial. If the judge accepts that request, the trial will be installed only for the last two and will be suspended for Correa and Romero.
According to current legislation, they cannot be tried in absentia. If they want to evade the process, they will not be able to return to the country, at least until 2022, when they prescribe the criminal action.
On Tuesday, during the diligence, the prosecutor explained that in the case of kidnapping crimes the period to investigate and punish those responsible is 10 years counted from the commission of the offense. The attempted kidnapping of Balda occurred on August 13, 2012, in Bogotá, Colombia.
Correa, therefore, will have to wait to return to the country. If he returns before, the prison order that is in effect against him would have to be made effective. Camacho imposed that measure after the former president failed to comply with the order to appear before the courts every 15 days.
The case is also awaiting a resolution from the International Police (Interpol). The Ecuadorian justice requested the red diffusion for the ex-president. His defense challenged that request. Interpol will make a decision at its next session scheduled for October 15 and 16.
If luck does not accompany Correa and Interpol gives the green light to the arrest warrant, the former president still has a letter to play: political asylum in Belgium. That has been an option with which the defense has flirted, which the media in that country take for granted but has not yet been finalized. With a possible asylum, Correa could continue living in Belgium while prescribing his crime.
Extradition? It is an alternative that has not been discussed. Something that does not happen, for example, with Romero: last week, the president of the Court, Paulina Aguirre, said that they are waiting for a resolution from Spain, where the former official is a refugee and has requested asylum.
Espín’s visit to prison 4, to investigation
The ‘visit’ that a correísta legislator made to jail 4 will lead to another fiscal investigation. In between there could even be criminal liability.
Sofia Espin went to jail to talk to Diana Falcón, prosecuted for her alleged participation in the attempted kidnapping of Fernando Balda. She says it was a humanitarian action. Falcon’s defense says they tried to convince her to change her version and ‘save’ former president Rafael Correa.
For Espin, the testimony of Falcón and her lawyers is not enough, she wants to be presented with evidence of the alleged pressure she exerted. Otherwise, he said yesterday, will initiate legal action against those who accuse her.
In tune with the speech of the correísmo, the legislator said that it is tried to mount a show and it was declared persecuted policy. She also questioned the judicial system. “We know that there is no justice here, if we have to resort to international bodies we will do it,” he announced.
For the Minister of the Interior, María Paula Romo, the case is very serious. And the legislator Luis Fernando Torres admitted that there could be a cause of destitution of Espin. (I)