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Court orders pretrial detention for Correa and other former government officials

A three-judge National Court panel rejected an appeal by the attorneys for former president Rafael Correa and five other ex-officials in the so-called Sobornos 2012-2016 — or Bribes 2012-206 – case that would have allowed the defendants to avoid pretrial detention.

Former president Rafael Correa.

In the case, Correa and the others are charged with accepting bribes, illicit association and influence peddling.

At the hearing, federal prosecutor Wilson Toainga argued that preventive detention was necessary because of the flight risk posed by the defendants. “The accused have committed very serious crimes and they understand that they face years in prison if convicted,” he said. “It is the state’s opinion that it is not prudent to allow them to remain free.”

Attorneys representing Correa, former Vice President Jorge Glas, cabinet minister Vinicio Alvarado, Presidential Secretary Water Walter Solís and two others, argued that the legal requirements for pre-trial detention were not met in the case and that a rule for the physical presence of the accused at the hearing was being violated.

Correa lives in Belgium and Glas is serving a six-year sentence for corruption in Latacunga. Correa is also under a pre-trial detention order for his alleged role in a 2012 kidnapping case.

Responding to charges by attorneys for the defendants that the charges were politically motivated, prosecutor Toainga said “overwhelming evidence” showed that crimes had been committed. “The attorney general’s case is based on information that is absolutely objective, backed by provisions of the constitution of Ecuador,” he said.