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Correa says he may seek asylum in Belgium

Former president Rafael Correa says he is considering asking for political asylum in Belgium where he has lived with his Belgian-born wife since June 2017. His comments to news media followed a lecture Monday in Spain.

Former president Rafael Correa

“It is one of the alternatives I’m thinking about although nothing has been decided,” Correa said, adding that political “traitors and enemies” in Ecuador have forced him to consider the possibility.

Correa’s asylum consideration follows a judge’s order on Monday that he report to a Quito court every15 days in connection with the investigation into the botched kidnapping of one of Correa’s political critics in 2012. At the arraignment, attended by the ex-presdent’s attorney, Criminal Court Judge Daniella Camacho ruled that there is sufficient evidence to link Correa to the crime. According to prosecutors, former intelligence agents involved in the Bogota, Colombia kidnapping of former assemblyman Fernando Balda say they worked under direct orders from Correa.

“If I return to Ecuador, I have no assurance that I would remain free,” Correa said. “They give me an impossible condition to comply with an unreasonable order and, if I fail to comply, they could place me in pretrial detention,” he said, adding that he will not be able to make a trip to Quito every two weeks.

In his comments, Correa called the charges against him “false, based on lies in an atmosphere of persecution.” He added: “They are forging evidence because they have absolutely nothing against me. This case was already adjudicated in Colombia and now they want to open it again in Ecuador based on lies.”

Correa’s attorney, Caupolicán Ochoa, says he will appeal the judge’s order that the former president report to Ecuador.