As if former president Rafael Correa doesn’t have enough legal trouble in Ecuador, he must now defend himself in a Belgium court. Television news anchor and one-time friend Ramiro Cueva is suing the ex-president for assault and violating his rights as a journalist.
Correa made his first appearance in a Brussels court Wednesday at a preliminary hearing.
In his suit, Cueva maintains that Correa punched him and ordered his three bodyguards to do the same July 8 outside of Correa’s home in a Brussels suburb. Cueva, who says he was in Europe to report on the opening of the World Cup in Moscow, says he visited Correa’s neighborhood to take video that he planned to air on Loja television station Ecotel TV.
Cueva also charges Correa with lying to police and for employing unlicensed body guards that Cueva calls “thugs.”
Correa told police that Cueva was a stalker, violating the privacy of his family. The former president also said he believed Cueva was carrying a gun, although police say he was unarmed. Correa called his body guards, after which the alleged assault occurred.
After the incident, Correa filed a violation of privacy complaint against Cueva.
Correa and Cueva have known each other since the 1980s when they were university student leaders. After Correa was elected president in 2006, he appeared with Cueva in several Ecotel TV interviews. On two occasions, Cueva traveled with Correa on the presidential jet during overseas tours.
Following the July incident in Brussels, Correa has said he does not know Cueva.
For more about the July incident in Brussels, click here.