The Belgian government has granted the asylum to former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, who has been convicted of corruption, Correa's team said on Friday.
"On April 19, 2022, the federal government of Belgium granted political asylum to the economist Rafael Correa Delgado, Ecuador's former President, thus recognizing the political persecution against him," the team said in a statement.
Earlier in the day, Ecuador initiated the process to request to Belgium the extradition of Correa.
The president of the National Court of Justice of Ecuador, Ivan Saquicela, announced Friday that he signed the extradition request of Correa, who was sentenced in absentia to eight years in prison in 2020 for corruption during his 10-year term in office.
“Yesterday I signed the order initiating the extradition process as it corresponds of former president of Ecuador Rafael Correa,” Saquicela told Teleamazonas news channel.
Correa, who now lives in exile in Belgium, was investigated, and later tried in Ecuador, for allegedly having received "illegal" contributions for his campaign and his political movement while he held office from 2007 to 2017.
Among the companies involved in the alleged bribery network is the questioned Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht, which is involved in one of the biggest corporate corruption cases in Latin America.
The former president reacted to the announcement of Saquicela on his Twitter account calling him a clown and a “puppet of the government”.
Correa denies any wrongdoing and claims that he is the victim of political persecution./aa