The Bolivian Foreign Ministry has confirmed that two former Ecuadorian government officials have requested political asylum in Bolivia.
The ministry said Monday that Carlos Ochoa, who headed the communication watchdog agency Supercom during the presidency of Rafael Correa, and ex-Assemblywoman Sofia Espín have officially requested asylum.
Ecuador’s Foreign Minister José Valencia said he is in touch with Bolivian authorities and has asked that Ochoa’s and Espín’s request be denied and that they be extradited to Ecuador.
Ochoa is accused of misappropriating public funds and violating the rights of several news media, while Espín is accused of attempting to influence a jailed witness in a kidnapping case involving Correa.
Valencia argues that Ochoa and Espín are not being politically persecuted and do not deserve consideration for asylum. “They are being prosecuted under the established rules of justice in Ecuador and should be returned to the country to face the crimes they are accused of.”
More than dozen former government officials are currently fugitives, according the foreign ministry. They are reportedly living in Venezuela, Spain and the U.S.