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Ecuadoran court suspends hearing into ex-president kidnapping case

Former Ecuador president Rafael Correa denies involvement in the 2012 kidnapping of a rival lawmaker
Former Ecuador president Rafael Correa denies involvement in the 2012 kidnapping of a rival lawmaker Former Ecuador president Rafael Correa denies involvement in the 2012 kidnapping of a rival lawmaker AFP/File
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Quito (AFP)

A criminal court in Ecuador suspended a hearing on Tuesday meant to decide whether to call former president Rafael Correa to trial over the kidnapping of an opposition lawmaker in Colombia.

Barely an hour into the hearing, judge Daniela Camacho postponed the hearing until Friday to provide more time to study prosecution documents into the 2012 kidnapping of Fernando Balda.

Correa, who lives in his wife's native Belgium and cannot be tried in absentia, blasted the decision as "shameful" on Twitter, calling on the prosecutor in charge to "resign."

"He had a month and a half to prepare for this hearing," fumed Correa.

The hearing, attended by international observers on behalf of Correa, is due to decide whether or not he should face trial or if the case should be dismissed.

In July, Ecuador's National Court of Justice ordered the arrest of Correa and alerted the international police organization Interpol.

Correa dismissed that as a political "plot" led by his successor, President Lenin Moreno.

The two were once allies -- Moreno was Correa's vice president from 2007 to 2013 -- but have since fallen out.

The power struggle between the pair led to a crisis within their left-wing PAIS Alliance party, which has been in power since Correa won his first election in 2006.

Moreno has recently come out on top in that struggle as Ecuadorans voted in February to bar Correa from making a comeback in 2021 by backing a referendum on reimposing presidential term limits.

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