Ecuadorean judge signs Rafael Correa extradition request
(CNN Spanish) – The President of Ecuador’s National Court of Justice, Ivan Sakesella, announced on Friday that he had signed an order to begin the process of extradition of former President Rafael Correa from Belgium. Correa was sentenced in 2020 to eight years in prison for aggravated bribery in the “2012-2016 Bribery” case, as part of the Odebrecht plot.
“I have already signed the order, and the extradition process has begun according to the law of the former President of the Republic of Ecuador, Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado,” he said in an interview with local media Teleamazonas.
According to Sakesila, the request will be sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take the necessary diplomatic steps to finalize the extradition of Korea.
He added that Ecuador has an extradition agreement with Belgium that supports the extradition request, and that political criteria do not interfere with this request.
We waited for some aspects, such as the fact that the various decisions adopted by the court in the “bribery” case will be implemented. Sakesella added: “We have conducted the necessary analyzes and steps regarding the extradition of criminals.”
For his part, former President Rafael Correa told CNN that this extradition request from the Ecuadorean justice comes in response to a statement issued by his lawyers last Friday, in which they indicated that Belgium granted him political asylum.
According to the statement, Christophe Marchand, Korea International Defense Coordinating Counsel, noted that this notification of the status granted is “an acknowledgment of the former president’s state of political persecution.”
Korea’s representatives sent CNN a document from the General Commission for Refugees and Stateless Persons in Belgium (CGRA) certifying his refugee status. CNN contacted the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and received no response. Also with the CGRA who declined to comment on a particular case.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador reports that it has not yet received any request from the National Court of Justice regarding the order to proceed with the extradition of Rafael Correa through diplomatic channels and that once received, it will be sent to Belgium.
The statement adds that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not heard from an official source about the political asylum that Correa said that Belgium had granted him.
Subsequently, the President of the National Court of Justice, Ivan Sakesella, said at a press conference that he was not aware of the granting of political asylum to Rafael Correa and, regardless of whether this happened, he would continue to seek extradition:
“I have no official knowledge that Rafael Correa would have been given political asylum. This area is not for us, but diplomacy. I am the first to miss,” Sakisila told the media.
In addition, he added, it is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that must inform the country whether Korea has asylum. He noted that despite the criticism leveled against him, he “committed the state.”
“I still don’t know about possible asylum (for Rafael Correa). I’m the first to miss, the first to be surprised. I insist it’s surprising that asylum is apparently granted.”
Sakesella said that despite the fact that Rafael Correa’s 8-year sentence for bribery was upheld in July 2020, legal resources were necessary to support a complex extradition request. Legal resources that, according to Sacquisella, can only be determined in 2022.
Lewis Yepes contributed to this report.