February 16, 2019

Conditions met for Assange to leave Ecuador embassy in London

08 December 2018, 10:47 | Devin Moran

UK guarantees are enough for Julian Assange to leave embassy, Ecuador’s president says

Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno said Britain had guaranteed that Julian Assange would not be extradited to any country where his life would be in danger

Mr Assange fears being charged by the USA for his part in leaking sensitive government information.

"The road is clear for Mr Assange to take the decision to leave", Moreno was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

"The suggestion that as long as the death penalty is off the table, Mr Assange need not fear persecution is obviously wrong ..."

Moreno said his administration was assured that if Assange is let out of the embassy, and thus falls back under the UK's jurisdiction, he would not be extradited to any country where he would face a death penalty.

President Moreno also said, "I do not like the presence of Mr. Assange in the Ecuadorean embassy, but we have been respectful of his human rights".

WikiLeaks has released thousands of classified U.S. military documents, among other disclosures, including thousands of emails that were hacked from Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

The Ecuadorian President added that he would prefer if Assange surrendered because of the cost Quito has been paying after granting asylum to him.

USA prosecutors last month inadvertently revealed the existence of a sealed indictment against Assange, according to WikiLeaks, but it was not known what the actual charges were.

WikiLeaks has been a focus of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of any links between associates of President Donald Trump and Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

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 US.

Assange in turn sued, saying his rights as an Ecuadorian - he was granted citizenship past year as part of an apparent attempt to name him a diplomat and ferry him to Russian Federation - were being violated.

But he said Ecuador was not about to throw Assange out. The Justice Department prepared an indictment against the WikiLeaks founder in which prosecutors inadvertently mentioned charges against him.

"We will protect Mr. Assange's rights - this is why we are looking for a solution, but this needs to be an agreed solution", he said.

An arrest warrant by the United Kingdom government has been issued to Assange over violating bail conditions by seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy.

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