Ex-Ecuador leader sought in case of missing opposition figure

Supporters of ex-president Rafael Correa rally after a court in Ecuador linked him to the 2012 disappearance of an opposition figure

Quito (AFP) – A court in Quito on Monday ordered testimony from Ecuador’s ex-president Rafael Correa, who lives in Belgium, in the investigation of an opposition figure’s apparent 2012 kidnapping in Venezuela.   

Judge Daniella Camacho ordered Correa, who was president from 2007-2017 and now lives in his wife’s home country of Belgium, appear in a Quito court every two weeks for the investigation of the kidnapping of former lawmaker Fernando Balda. Correa is believed to have been involved, prosecutors said.

Correa’s first appearance was ordered for July 2, prosecutors said on Twitter.

Correa attorney Caupolican Ochoa said it was “unheard of” and an “abuse” to order someone living in Belgium to testify regularly in Quito.

An attorney for Balda, Felipe Rodriguez, said that if Correa does not appear in court, “he’ll be on the lam from justice for seven years. And then come back.”

Rodriguez said that Correa should be in preventive detention until he has been cleared in the case.

Earlier, Correa said on Twitter “I don’t know what they are linking me with, or to whom. Today they might even order my arrest.”

Three police intelligence agents have already been ordered arrested in the case; in addition to an ex police commander and a former top intelligence official, arrested Sunday in Spain.

Correa, involved in a criminal case in Ecuador for the first time, added on Twitter: “Maybe they can get some false testimony. But they’ll never prove anything, because there is nothing.”