Ecuador judge rejects extradition for Belarusian - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Ecuador judge rejects extradition for Belarusian

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QUITO, Ecuador (AP) -

A high court judge in Ecuador has rejected the extradition request for a former financial crimes investigator from Belarus who has been jailed since June and ordered him freed immediately.

   Judge Carlos Ramirez found Tuesday that the political refugee status granted Aliaksandr Barankov to be sound.

   A court official notified The Associated Press of the judge's order. The official was not authorized to be identified by name.

   Barankov's case drew attention after Ecuador granted political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange earlier this month.

   The 30-year-old Barankov had argued he could be killed if sent back to his former Soviet bloc homeland, whose president, Alexander Lukashenko, has been nicknamed "Europe's last dictator."

   Barankov says he fled Belarus after unearthing high-level corruption involving relatives of Lukashenko.

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