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Judge who asked for extradition of ex-Ecuadorian president says he is surprised by political asylum in Belgium

Rafael Correa foi condenado a oito anos de prisão por suborno, mas a Bélgica lhe concedeu asilo político como refugiado

Rafael Correa was sentenced to eight years in prison for bribery, but Belgium granted him political asylum as a refugee| Photo: EFE/Mario Guzmán

22221656 22221656 The president of the National Court of Justice of Ecuador, Iván Saquicela, denied this Friday (22) that there is political persecution against former President Rafael Correa, after asking for his extradition, and declared himself “surprised” by Belgium has granted him political asylum as a refugee.

22221656“Here there is no nothing more than a prison sentence for a crime of bribery,” Saquicela said at a press conference, after signing the extradition request on Thursday.

22221656 The magistrate recalled that Correa is sentenced to eight years in prison by the Ecuadorian Justice for the crime of bribery and stated that his duty is to request and process the extradition request, regardless of whether the former president has been granted asylum in Belgium.

The sentence was handed down in the context of the Bribery case 2012-2016, a schematic the one in which undue contributions were received at the presidential palace of Carondelet for the irregular financing of the government movement Alianza País, in exchange for the award of millionaire state contracts to companies, including the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.

However, the asylum granted by the government of Belgium, to which the Efe Agency had access, is considered by Correa and his followers as proof of the political persecution they denounce against the former president.

Even Correa himself stated on his Twitter account this Friday that “Saquicela’s competence is anthological”, for formulating extradition when he already has guaranteed asylum.

22221656 In this sense, Saquicela guaranteed that the extradition request “is not about political or ideological-political issues”.

“This is a crime of corruption, which is prosecuted internationally ally. Therefore, we request the extradition, in strict law, for the crime of bribery as the mediate (material) perpetrator”, highlighted the judge.

“My duty is to be an independent and impartial judge, beyond political events. I don’t owe anything to any government, neither that of Mr. Correa nor that of the current government. I am an impartial judge and I always defend judicial independence”, he added.

Regarding the asylum granted to Correa by Belgium, the president of the National Court stated that he did not have an official notification of it and declared that he was “surprised” that political asylum had been granted.

22221656“In these circumstances in which I request extradition, I discover that four or five days ago apparently political asylum was granted”, he commented.

In the resolution to which Efe had access and dated 15 of April, the General Commissioner for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS) of Belgium confirms that it granted Correa refugee status in the country of origin of his wife, Anne Malherbe.

Saquicela highlighted that he respects public international law and the attributions of the different powers of the State, but reiterated that he will continue with the process of the p extradition order, regardless of the position taken by the government of Ecuador and what Belgium ultimately decides.

Correa, who ruled Ecuador from 2007 to , settled in Belgium shortly after the end of his term, and has not returned to the country since the beginning of 2018, when investigation processes began to be opened against him for accusations that he always denied.

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