A court in Ecuador has issued an arrest warrant against the former president Rafael Correa, who led the country from 2007 to 2017.
Correa, who is accused of kidnapping a political opponent in 2012, denies all charges.
Euronews met up with him in an apartment close to Brussels where the former head of state now lives with his Belgian wife and children.
"What does the president of the republic have to do with this event? At the beginning I wasn’t even accused. It happened in 2012. In 2013, the alleged victim presented a specific accusation and didn’t accuse me. But already in November they realised that with false testimonies they could point to the president," said Correa.
"And they announced from this moment on: you will see how Correa will get an arrest warrant from Interpol, and they started this whole thing, which has no legal or logical basis."
Last month, Ecuador’s attorney general said he had enough evidence to prosecute Correa. This triggered demonstrations in the streets of Quito in support of the former president, who remains popular amongst some Ecuadorans for the welfare policies he implemented.
The judge in this case argues that Correa did not present himself to the court, as was asked of him, and ordered his arrest.
The former president says it was impossible for him to go back to his country, and added that the whole case is politically motivated, to bar him from playing any role in the future affairs of Ecuador.
"It hurts me to say this but Ecuador is seen again as a Banana republic. No serious country will take into account an order for detention that is so clearly political, illegal, and absurd. Especially Belgium," said Correa.
"But people are very nervous: my friends, my family, our militants… they say there will be a red notice from Interpol, they will capture Correa, extradite him and put him in jail in the Ecuadorean dictatorship. This is not possible. Nothing of this absurdity will happen, especially here in Belgium where there are a lot of guarantees. We are safe here. Nobody needs to worry about me, we need to worry about the country."