Authorities in Ecuador say prominent physician Carlos Figueroa has been detained near Quito and sent to prison to serve a six-month sentence for defaming President Rafael Correa.

The arrest was confirmed Tuesday on the Interior Ministry's Twitter account.

Figueroa, opposition congressman Clever Jimenez and his adviser Fernando Villavicencio were convicted in April of defaming Correa by accusing him of crimes against humanity in ordering the military to use force to free him from a besieged hospital during a 2010 police uprising. Jimenez and Villavicencio were sentenced to 18 months.

Human rights groups have questioned the independence of Ecuador's judiciary, accusing Correa of stacking the courts with loyalists.