– The Belgian judiciary will not extradite ex-president Correa
The Ecuadorian authorities have seen their request for the extradition of former President Rafael Correa rejected, according to the latter’s lawyer.
Belgian justice has rejected the Ecuadorian judicial authorities’ request for the extradition of former President Rafael Correa, who was sentenced to eight years in prison in his country on corruption charges but is a fugitive in Brussels, his defense said on Friday.
“The Belgian Ministry of Justice now confirms (…) that it will not comply with Ecuador’s extradition request,” and “that Belgium will also refuse to cooperate with the +Ecuadorian judiciary+ within the framework of procedural policy,” law firm Jus Cogens said in a statement .
Belgium granted refugee status to Rafael Correa after acknowledging that “the criminal case instituted against” the former Ecuadorian president “obviously contradicted the right to a fair trial,” specifies the statement posted by Correa on Twitter. Political asylum already appeared to be a major obstacle to extradition attempts by the Ecuadorian authorities, but according to the former president’s lawyers, the Belgian judiciary has now buried any possibility of extradition. The text does not mention any official Belgian communication. For his part, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Juan Carlos Holguín told the press that in his country “there is no prosecution by the judiciary, every citizen claimed by the Ecuadorian judiciary has the right to due process”.
Since 2017 in Belgium
Rafael Correa, in Belgium since 2017, was granted refugee status on April 15, according to a copy of the certificate issued by the Commissioner-General for Refugees and Stateless Persons, to which AFP had access. The news was published on April 22, the day the Ecuadorian judicial authorities requested the extradition of the former socialist leader, who was in power between 2007 and 2017.
Rafael Correa, 59, was sentenced in absentia to eight years in prison on corruption charges for his involvement in a scheme put in place by his government to pay nearly $7.6 million in bribes in exchange for contracts, but he denounces “political persecution”. The verdict against him was upheld in 2020, which also stripped him of any electoral mandate for life. The former socialist president also faces arrest warrants for briefly kidnapping an opponent in Colombia in 2012.
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