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Arrested Ecuador ex-president taken to hospital

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(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 17, 2017 dismissed Ecuadorean president (August 1996-February 1997) Abdala Bucaram speaks during a political rally after 20 years of exile in Panama, in Guayaquil, Ecuador. – Former Ecuadorian president Abdala Bucaram, under house arrest over suspected links to organized crime, was hospitalized on August 26, 2020, after a suspected heart attack, his lawyer said. (Photo by MARCOS PIN MENDEZ / AFP)


Former Ecuadorian president Abdala Bucaram, under house arrest over suspected links to organized crime, was hospitalized Wednesday after a suspected heart attack, his lawyer said.

Bucaram, 68, “went into cardiac arrest” at his home, lawyer Cristian Romero told AFP.

The ex-president, who has a pacemaker, was admitted for surgery to a clinic in the southwestern port city of Guayaquil, and doctors were “reserved about his condition,” Romero said.

Bucaram, who was removed from office in 1997 after just six months, has been under house arrest since August 14, accused of links to organized crime as part of an investigation into overpriced hospital supplies during the coronavirus pandemic.

The case took a grim turn when an Israeli inmate was attacked and killed in a Guayaquil prison.

A second Israeli was wounded in the attack. The pair, arrested as part of the corruption investigation, claimed to have sold thousands of coronavirus tests to the ex-president’s son.

Bucaram is also facing trial in other cases in which he is accused of trafficking arms and property.

Last weekend, he announced he was withdrawing his candidacy for February’s presidential election but would run for a seat in the legislature instead.

Guayaquil’s police commander Victor Araus confirmed in comments to the El Comercio daily that Bucaram had been transferred to hospital for medical checks, adding: “I know it’s nothing serious.”


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