Ecuador's president says Julian Assange should leave embassy soon

Elias Hubbard
December 7, 2018

Ecuador's president says Britain has provided sufficient guarantees for Julian Assange to leave his government's embassy in London, where the WikiLeaks founder has been living under asylum since 2012.

Moreno didn't say that his country would force Assange out of the embassy, but said the Wikileaks founder's legal team is considering its next steps.

A Justice Department investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks dates to at least 2010, when the site posted thousands of files stolen by the former US Army intelligence analyst now known as Chelsea Manning.

"The way has been cleared for Mr Assange to take the decision to leave in near-liberty", President Lenin Moreno told reporters, explaining that he still had to answer in Britain for violating the terms of his bail.

Speaking during a radio interview on Thursday, Moreno said his administration has received written assurances that the United Kingdom will not extradite Assange to any nation where he will face the death penalty.

At the same, time he has demanded assurances from British authorities that the WikiLeaks founder wouldn't be extradited to the United States upon leaving the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Moreno said the sentence for skipping bail would be "not long".

But his relations with his hosts have soured to the point that Moreno earlier this year cut off his access to the internet, purportedly for violating the terms of his asylum by speaking out on political matters.

Assange responded by suing Ecuador, accusing it of violating his "fundamental rights and freedoms".

But nothing would prevent it from extraditing him to the USA if prosecutors there were to pledge not to seek the death penalty. Assange subsequently violated his bail conditions by applying for asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy, thereafter fearing that he would be arrested by British police and extradited to the U.S. for cable leaks, which were published on his website.

Assange, who gained worldwide renown by publishing huge caches of hacked State Department and Pentagon files, has repeatedly expressed fear that Britain would extradite him to the United States to face charges there.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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