Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Ecuador: UK gave enough guarantees for Assange to leave embassy

Julian Assange on the balcony of the Ecuadorean embassy in London Camera Icon Julian Assange on the balcony of the Ecuadorean embassy
Melinda Barton | 08 December, 2018, 22:47

"The road is clear for Mr Assange to take the decision to leave", Moreno was quoted by the Associated Press as saying. Assange's Wikileaks released a variety of USA secrets, including diplomatic cables and Central Intelligence Agency hacking tools, as well as a dump of email hacked from the Democratic National Committee in 2016.

Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012, when he was granted asylum while facing allegations of sex crimes in Sweden that he said were a guise to extradite him to the U.S.

Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno said there was a "path" for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to leave the South American country's London embassy, where he has lived for six years under asylum, if he so chooses. However, the Ecuadorian President has ramped up the pressure on Assange to leave the Ecuadorian embassy. The indictment suggested that the United States will seek Assange's extradition if he leaves the embassy, though the charges he faces were not known.

Julian Assange can walk out of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London any time he wants and face little prospect of jail time or extradition to face charges that carry a death penalty, the president of Ecuador told a radio station in Quito on December 6.

Last month, an inadvertent court filing in a case unrelated to Assange revealed that he has been charged in secret.

A woman walks past the Ecuadorean Embassywhere Julian Assange has been living under asylum since 2012
Camera IconA woman walks past the Ecuadorean Embassywhere Julian Assange has been living under asylum since

Assange founded WikiLeaks as a whistle-blower organization in Iceland in 2006.

WikiLeaks' role in releasing emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee in 2016 has also been under scrutiny as special counsel Robert Mueller has investigated Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the campaign of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump was involved.

Ecuador said that the United Kingdom has given such a guarantee, but Moreno said he needs clarification on the British position.

Assange insists British authorities will hand him over to the US. Transmitting defense information to be used for injuring the United States can be punishable by death. Moreno added that Assange has to "serve a short sentence" in Britain for violating his bail conditions.

His lawyer Carlos Poveda said last month that Assange was prepared to surrender to British police if he receives assurances he will not be extradited.