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Former Ecuador President Granted Asylum in Panama

Panama granted former Ecuadorean President Abdala Bucaram asylum Friday, after he fled his home country following massive anti-government protests.

Mr. Bucaram was forced to flee after the removal of one of his successors, President Lucio Gutierrez, last month.

He has sought and been granted asylum in Panama four times since the 1980s.

Mr. Bucaram led Ecuador for six months until February 1997, before legislators declared him mentally unfit to rule. Officials also accused him of stealing more than $3 million from public funds when he left power.

He returned to Ecuador last month after a Gutierrez-appointed Supreme Court annulled the corruption charges against him.

However, Mr. Bucaram's return helped fuel the protests against Mr. Gutierrez that led to his ouster. Mr. Gutierrez is now in Brazil, where he has been granted asylum.

Some information for this story provided by AP and AFP.