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  • "We are victims of a fierce persecution that is carried out to hide the corruption of Moreno and his close circle," Patiño tweeted. | Photo: Twitter / @PaolaPabonC

Published 19 April 2019

"No desperate measure will prevent the Ecuadorean people from returning to power,” Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said on Twitter.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza condemned the Ecuadorean government’s lawsuit against former Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño.

RELATED: 
Ecuador Issues Interpol Red Notice on Ex-Foreign Minister, Critic of Assange Arrest

“The persecution against leaders of the Citizen Revolution in Ecuador has been constituted in an updated modality of the Condor Plan of the 20th century. All our solidarity with the partner @RicardoPatinoEC. No desperate measure will prevent the Ecuadorean people from returning to power,” Arreaza said on Twitter Thursday night.

On Thursday, April 18, the Ecuadorean Attorney General's (AG) office announced the solicitation to Interpol for the capture of the former foreign minister Ricardo Patiño, a vocal critic of the current government who served under former President Rafael Correa and is wanted for the crime of "instigation."

Judge Flavio Palomo, of the AG office based in Latacungo, Ecuador, issued the judicial decision to place Patiño in preventative detention and announced the state's intent to issue a red notice from Interpol to detain the former government official who left to Peru via road Wednesday prior any legal action being issued against him.

Four days prior to his leaving, judge Beatriz Benitez of Latacunga ruled out preventative detention for the former minister. Head of the AG office, Diana Salazar, responded that her lawyers will be investigating Benitez.

"On Saturday (April 13) the Prosecutor's Office requested an arrest warrant against Ricardo Patiño while he was still in the country, on a well-founded basis. A judge dismissed it," claimed Salazar over Twitter.

Patino said he is being persecuted for a speech he gave in an internal meeting of the political movement Citizen Revolution in October 2018 where he called for members "to accompany the Ecuadorean people on the streets, on the roads, to the public institutions without using violence." 

According to the Attorney General’s office, this statement amounts to "instigating people," a crime that could land a person in jail for up to two years, according to Ecuador's Organic Penal Code (COIP).

“(Patino) had given a speech in which he instigated people to take over public institutions and close roads,” says Salazar.

Patiño said that an investigation that many are calling 'lawfare,' or using the courts for political persecution, will not find anything against him from the ten years he served in the government of former President Correa. "They have not found anything nor will they find it, we are honest people," the ex-diplomat has said.

"We are victims of a fierce persecution that is carried out to hide the corruption of Moreno and his close circle #INAPapers. We will fight, and keep fighting while walking tall. Here," Patiño tweeted.
 

Ecuador's current administration under President Lenin Moreno is also accusing Patiño of supposed ties to Swedish information activist Ola Bini and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Bini was placed under 90-day preventative detention last week by Ecuadorean authorities for allegedly working with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to "destabalize" the government.  

Assange was stripped of his asylum in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London without warning and immediately arrested by British police on April 11. He is wanted by the United States on charges of espionage for revealing thousands of documents and video footage of potential war crimes committed by U.S. officials over the past two decades.  

Bini’s defense and family have said his arrest and subsequent detention violate his human rights and that the Swede has no connection to WikiLeaks, but is merely a friend to Assange.

The Interpol "red notice" issued by Ecuador "is effectively a request by a member state for other states to help locate and arrest a person wanted in a criminal matter, so that person can be extradited,” Interpol states. Over 13,000 were issued in 2017.

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