Ecuador’s National Court of Justice has turned down an appeal filed by former president Rafael Correa in an “aggravated bribery” case, upholding the eight-year sentence that Correa has called politically motivated.

Correa and 17 other Ecuadorian officials were charged and convicted in absentia back in April, on charges of accepting bribes and spending them on political campaigning. The former president’s appeal was dismissed on Monday and he was sentenced to eight year in prison.

Reacting to the verdict on Twitter, Correa said such a decision “was expected” while branding the whole case against him “ridiculous.” He also denounced the court decision as “one of the darkest pages” in Ecuador’s history.

Aunque es difícil de creer, era de esperarse. “Caso” y “sentencia” más ridículos no puede haber.No nos van a derrotar, pero me duele toda la gente inocente que está sufriendo por intentar hacerme daño a mí.#LosCorruptosSiempreFueronEllos

The former president has repeatedly claimed the charges were based on “fraudulent” evidence and were part of a political campaign launched by his opponents to prevent him from running for the presidential office once again. Ecuador is expected to hold both presidential and parliamentary elections next year. Correa’s sentence disqualifies him from running for any public office for 25 years.

Ecuador’s National Electoral Council also suspended several political parties on Sunday, citing some “irregularities” in their registration process. Among them was the Force of Social Commitment (FCS) party that supports Correa. All four parties were given ten days to defend themselves, in a process that could see them losing the right to participate in the next year’s elections.

Correa ran Ecuador from 2007 to 2017, and is known among other things for giving political asylum to WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange. He later moved to Belgium and currently hosts a talk show on RT Spanish.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!