Ecuador orders arrest of ex-president Correa in exile

Ecuador orders arrest of ex-president Correa in exile

Ecuador's justice on Wednesday ordered the arrest of former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, who lives in Belgium, after confirming his eight-year prison sentence for corruption, the sentencing court announced.

The court decision also includes a life ban for Mr. Correa to hold elected office, while the former head of state wishes to participate in the elections scheduled for next February.

Mr. Correa (57), who ruled Ecuador between 2007 and 2017, asked the National Electoral Council (CNE) online to register his candidacy for the post of vice-president. The CNE must consider this request later.

The court which tried Mr. Correa in abstentia established that the former president and several of his former collaborators, who were also convicted, had received bribes from various companies in exchange for contracts.

Justice ordered Ecuadorian police to locate and arrest the former socialist official.

It also instructed the Ministry of Finance to suspend payment of the $ 4,200 that Mr. Correa received monthly as former president and to which he is no longer entitled due to his conviction for corruption.

The court also informed the CNE of Mr. Correa's deprivation of his political rights.

“We are facing a process of revenge through the judicial institution”, reacted the lawyer for the former head of state, Fausto Jarrin, to AFP.

President Lenin Moreno, who was Mr Correa's vice-president between 2007 and 2013, has pushed for reforms to ban more than one re-election, which has started to block the road to a possible return of his predecessor.

“The mere mention of the possibility that he [Rafael Correa] is a candidate generates this type of reaction in all state institutions,” said Me Jarrin.

Mr. Correa, who says he is facing thirty trials in Ecuador, is the subject of another arrest warrant for the kidnapping in Colombia of an Ecuadorian opponent in 2012, a crime for which he cannot be tried in absentia.

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