QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Ecuador's top court has decided that former President Rafael Correa must stand trial for his alleged role in the 2012 botched kidnapping of an opposition lawmaker.

Correa was charged in September by prosecutors of orchestrating Fernando Balda's kidnapping in Bogota after he fled to Colombia's capital to escape what he considered persecution by Correa.

On Wednesday, a supreme court justice decided that the accusations against Correa and his top intelligence aide merited a trial. But proceedings are unable to begin until Correa, who has been living in Belgium since leaving office in 2017, returns home.

Correa has long denied the charges and a small group of supporters outside the court said Correa was the target of a smear campaign by his hand-picked successor turned arch critic, President Lenin Moreno.

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