Exiled ex-Ecuador president doesn't exclude political return

Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador, said that the Belgian political asylum he received in Belgium was proof that he is being persecuted in his country.

Exiled ex-Ecuador president doesn't exclude political return

He did not rule out a return back to politics in an interview with The Associated Press Monday.

Correa was sentenced to eight years imprisonment in absentia for corruption in 2020. He has lived in the native Belgium of his wife since 2017.

Although Ecuadorian authorities had previously demanded his arrest, he was allowed to remain in Belgium.

The Ecuadorian National Court of Justice issued a new extradition request to Correa last week. However, it was revealed that the Belgian Commissioner General For Refugees and Stateless Peoples granted Correa asylum.

The AP has seen a certificate issued by the agency dated April 15.

Correa stated that he is now able to travel around the globe safely, with the exception of Ecuador.

He said, "I give conferences and I give economic advice. So I have to travel to earn an income."

Correa stated that he could only stop the political persecution he sees by holding a position in an elected body again.

He said, "So if my country requires me to return there to win the election,"

Ivan Saquicela, president of Ecuador's National Court of Justice, stated last week that he signed an order initiating extradition in relation to Correa's sentencing. Prosecutors claimed that the former president was responsible for a scheme in which local and foreign businesses paid cash to Correa's now-defunct Alianza PAIS party in return for lucrative public works contracts.

Correa continues to deny any wrongdoing, and presents himself as the victim in a political witch hunt.

Correa stated that "we are persecuted, not corrupted" and added that his family has been harassed since Correa moved to Belgium.

Correa, who identified with the Latin American left-wing movement and was at the helm for ten years of Andean governance, resigned in May 2017.

Since then, he has been sought for extradition three more times. Once after he was found guilty in the kidnapping of one of his enemies and twice again for the same bribery matter.

Christophe Marchand Correa's lawyer said that the asylum application was made because Correa was the former head of state and was being targeted for political reasons.

Marchand stated that it was not easy to obtain the status of political refugee in Ecuador for a former head-of-state. "We had to convince them we were facing an extremely serious problem with Ecuador's justice independence."


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