Ecuador judge orders detention for ex-minister connected to Assange

QUITO (Reuters) - A judge in Ecuador has ordered former foreign minister Ricardo Patino be held in pre-trial detention on a so-called instigation charge, the attorney general's office said on Thursday, but the ex-official's whereabouts are unknown. The administration of President Lenin Moreno has said that Patino, who served as foreign minister under the previous government of President Rafael Correa, is connected to WikiLeaks. Moreno stripped WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of his diplomatic asylum last week.

Reuters April 19, 2019 07:05:56 IST
Ecuador judge orders detention for ex-minister connected to Assange

Ecuador judge orders detention for exminister connected to Assange

QUITO (Reuters) - A judge in Ecuador has ordered former foreign minister Ricardo Patino be held in pre-trial detention on a so-called instigation charge, the attorney general's office said on Thursday, but the ex-official's whereabouts are unknown.

The administration of President Lenin Moreno has said that Patino, who served as foreign minister under the previous government of President Rafael Correa, is connected to WikiLeaks.

Moreno stripped WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of his diplomatic asylum last week. Assange was given refuge in the London embassy in 2012 by Correa, but Moreno has accused WikiLeaks and Assange of violating his privacy by publishing private family photographs.

WikiLeaks has denied those allegations, arguing that Moreno was attempting to deflect attention from corruption allegations against him.

Patino, an economist who called on supporters to carry out "combative resistance" against Moreno in October 2018, fled the country by road on Wednesday, the attorney general's office said in a statement.

"The attorney general's office began a criminal process against Ricardo Patino for the alleged crime of instigation," the office said. "(Patino) had given a speech in which he instigated people to take over public institutions and close roads."

"The judge accepted the request of the attorney general's office, ordered pre-trial detention and asked for the release of an Interpol red notice," the office said.

It was not possible to reach Patino immediately for comment. He has previously denied the allegations.

Patino is also under investigation for having supposed ties to alleged Swedish hacker Ola Bini, who was arrested last week, the attorney general's office has said.

The government alleges that Patino and Bini have taken similarly timed trips out of the country and that they visited Assange when he was living in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. The interior minister has said Patino is part of a plan to "destabilize" the government.

(Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Leslie Adler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

France confirms it will read black boxes of downed Ukrainian jet, Canada to help
World

France confirms it will read black boxes of downed Ukrainian jet, Canada to help

By Tim Hepher and David Ljunggren PARIS/OTTAWA (Reuters) - France said on Friday it would download the black boxes from a Ukrainian airliner downed by an Iranian missile in January, easing a stand-off over where they should be read. France's BEA crash investigation agency said it was acting at the request of Iran, which remains responsible under global rules for conducting a formal accident probe after acknowledging that the Boeing 737 was downed by its forces

Texas and Florida crack down on bars, reversing coronavirus reopening
World

Texas and Florida crack down on bars, reversing coronavirus reopening

By Brad Brooks LUBBOCK, Texas (Reuters) - With new coronavirus cases surging in Texas and Florida, officials in both states on Friday ordered bars to close again and imposed tighter restrictions on restaurants, setting back efforts to reopen their economies. Governor Greg Abbott gave bars in Texas until midday Friday to shut, while Florida's Department of Business and Professional Regulation told bars to immediately stop serving alcohol on their premises

U.S. Senate backs bill to punish China over Hong Kong
World

U.S. Senate backs bill to punish China over Hong Kong

By Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate passed legislation on Thursday that would impose mandatory sanctions on people or companies that back efforts by China to restrict Hong Kong's autonomy, pushing back against Beijing's new security law for the city. The measure also includes secondary sanctions on banks that do business with anyone found to be backing any crackdown on the territory's autonomy, potentially cutting them off from American counterparts and limiting access to U.S.