Ecuador orders arrest of former foreign minister

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — An Ecuadorian judge has ordered the arrest of a former foreign minister, highlighting political tensions in the country that evicted WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from the country’s London embassy.

Ricardo Patiño said in a video message on social media that he’s being wrongfully pursued for calling for peaceful protests against President Lenin Moreno.

Patiño said in the message released on Thursday that he had left Ecuador legally and was in “another territory,” but did not provide any further details about his location. He spoke in a room with a bare wall behind him.

Some media reports say Patiño went to Peru and then flew to Mexico.

Ecuadorian prosecutors said Patiño left Ecuador by crossing a land border on Wednesday night after a judge denied their request for an arrest order. They said the judge who issued the denial was now under investigation, and that another judge had since approved the order to detain the former foreign minister.

Prosecutors said they’ve asked Interpol to help detain Patiño for allegedly urging people to take over public institutions and shut down roads last year. They say he is suspected of “instigation.”

Patiño is an ally of former President Rafael Correa, who granted asylum to Assange in 2012 and who has been feuding with Moreno.

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