QUITO (Reuters) – A judge in Ecuador has ordered former foreign minister Ricardo Patino be held in pre-trial detention on a so-named instigation charge, the lawyer general’s workplace mentioned on Thursday, but the ex-official’s whereabouts are unknown.

FILE PHOTO: Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino addresses a news conference about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in Quito February five, 2016. REUTERS/Guillermo Granja

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

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

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

Patino, an economist who named on supporters to carry out “combative resistance” against Moreno in October 2018, fled the nation by road on Wednesday, the lawyer general’s workplace mentioned in a statement.

“The lawyer general’s workplace started a criminal approach against Ricardo Patino for the alleged crime of instigation,” the workplace mentioned. “(Patino) had provided a speech in which he instigated persons to take more than public institutions and close roads.”

“The judge accepted the request of the lawyer general’s workplace, ordered pre-trial detention and asked for the release of an Interpol red notice,” the workplace mentioned.

It was not achievable to attain Patino straight away for comment. He has previously denied the allegations.

Patino is also beneath investigation for getting supposed ties to alleged Swedish hacker Ola Bini, who was arrested final week, the lawyer general’s workplace has mentioned.

The government alleges that Patino and Bini have taken similarly timed trips out of the nation and that they visited Assange when he was living in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. The interior minister has mentioned Patino is component of a strategy to “destabilize” the government.

Reporting by Alexandra Valencia Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb Editing by Leslie Adler

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