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running shoes men a dissident fights extradition QUITO, Ecuador (AP) In granting asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange last week, Ecuador foreign minister described a generous national policy of accepting political refugees. But that generosity may have its limits. Aliaksandr Barankov, a former financial crimes investigator from Belarus, is in imminent danger of losing that status and being sent home, where he says he is afraid he will be killed because he has denounced corruption at the highest levels of government. Barankov, 30, faces an Ecuadorean judge ruling as early as Tuesday on an extradition request from Belarus, where prosecutors accuse him of fraud and extortion. Barankov contends he uncovered a petroleumsmuggling ring involving senior officials of President Alexander Lukashenko government, including relatives of the leader. He calls the criminal charges against him bogus, and is backed by rights activists in the former Soviet bloc nation, which Lukashenko has ruled since 1994. His government has been condemned for election fraud, represses opposition groups and independent news media, and jails dissidents. Lukashenko has kept about 80 percent of industry in state hands and earned the nickname in the West of "Europe last dictator." "They accuse me of fraud and corruption," Barankov said by phone from prison Friday. "It easy to accuse (someone) of this because the police, courts and prosecutor office are employees of the president and his family." Barankov arrived in Ecuador in August 2009 after fleeing the charges, which he said were filed after he uncovered the smuggling ring. Belarus has been trying to extradite him ever since. Belarus continued to press for his extradition, but Judge Carlos Ramirez of Ecuador highest court, the National Court of Justice, denied it in October 2011, finding that the evidence of Barankov alleged crimes was inadequate. Then, on June 7, Barankov was arrested by 15 police officers based on a revised extradition request from Belarus, hauling him away from in his home in a middleclass neighborhood of northern Quito. Later that month, Lukashenko visited Ecuador for two days, signing agreements on trade, education, agriculture and the eventual exchange of diplomats with President Rafael Correa. A preliminary defense cooperation agreement was also signed. rivals including Iran, Russia and China. "Everything changed after Lukashenko came," Barankov said by phone from Quito cold, overcrowded centuryold Prison No. 1. "I want Ecuadoreans to open their eyes and see what happening to me." An official at the National Court of Justice said that Ramirez could rule as early as Tuesday on the new extradition request and that Barankov could lose despite his refugee status. It would then be up to Correa to decide whether he is extradited. A phone call to the presidential press office Monday seeking comment was not returned. "He cannot be condemned to death or to life in prison because there is a signed guarantee from the Belarusian government that assures us of this. Barankov Ecuadorean girlfriend, Mabel Andrade, told The Associated Press: "We were more or less relaxed until President Lukashenko came. Ecuadorean court records confirm that Barankov was a financial crimes investigator. In the Belarusian capital of Minsk, an Interior Ministry official said Barankov was a former police officer but refused to say what job or responsibilities he had. The official, who refused to be quoted by name, said Barankov was accused of summoning random people to his office, telling them they were being investigated and extorting bribes to close nonexistent cases. The Ecuadorean court papers say he allegedly attempted to extort employees of Total Oil, demanding payments of up to $60,000 on at least eight occasions. Yelena KrasovskayaKasperovich from the Minskbased human rights organization Platforma told the AP that Barankov asked for the group help and that they had spoken to him several times via Skype. She said Barankov "didn say a word about the nature of the secrets he in possession of." He only said that the information he has is "explosive" and concerns Belarusian senior officials, she said. "This might be the proof that he does know Lukashenko secrets."