Russia Hatched Plan To Help Assange Escape London Last Year

Elias Hubbard
September 22, 2018

That could of very well been the case in 2017 - when Ecuador attempted to give the Wikileaks founder a diplomatic post in Moscow, but were forced to rescind the offer after the British refused to play ball, a report says. Ecuador could have given Mr. Assange diplomatic documents, and he could have then been picked up from the embassy by Russians and taken away in diplomatic vehicle, the report said.

Ecuador in 2017 gave Wikileaks founder Julian Assange a diplomatic post in Russian Federation but rescinded it after Britain refused to give him diplomatic immunity, according to an Ecuadorean government document seen by Reuters.

But Britain's Foreign Office in a December 21 note said it did not accept Assange as a diplomat and that it did not "consider that Mr. Assange enjoys any type of privileges and immunities under the Vienna Convention", reads the letter, citing a British diplomatic note.

The "special designation" status awarded by the Ecuadorian president would allow Assange to hold diplomatic posts overseas even if the whistleblower is not career diplomat. However, under English law, the 47 year-old can only enjoy diplomatic privileges, such as immunity, only if his credentials are accepted by the Foreign Office.

Another plan considered involved shipping Mr. Assange on a boat to Ecuador, the newspaper reported.

The plan was ultimately deemed "too risky" and aborted, the report said. The paper, claimed that Ecuador's former London consul, Fidel Narvaez, was in talks with Russian diplomats and in constant contact with a "Russian businessman" who coordinated the proposed operation with the Kremlin. It took the newspaper a mere five paragraphs of its 1,000-word report to bring up "questions about Assange's ties to the Kremlin" in the context of the notorious Mueller probe and alleged "Russian hacking" of the United States elections.

Citing four sources, The Guardian said Russians held secret talks in London previous year with people close to the Australian-born WikiLeaks publisher on the subject of potentially facilitating his safe exit from the embassy, his residence since 2012. The Ecuadorean foreign ministry could not be reached for comment.

Russian Federation was one of the final destination options for Assange, according to sources who shared information with the Guardian. "Russia is always happy to welcome global guests if they arrive in a lawful manner and with good intentions".

He originally sought asylum in 2012 to avoid being extradited to Sweden after being accused of sexual assault, but the charges were later dropped.

Mr Assange faces the real possibility of being arrested if he leaves the embassy. Britain and Ecuador fearUS prosecutors have a sealed indictment against him and will extradite him to the US.

Vintimilla, who discussed some of the documents during a Thursday press conference, said Assange should lose his citizenship as a result of that letter.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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