World

Ecuador showing Assange the door as USA charges loom

Ecuador showing Assange the door as USA charges loom

Ecuador s foreign minister Jose Valencia said at the time that Britain was merely asking him to appear in court to answer for having broken his bail conditions, and that he was likely to get a sentence of no more than six months.

Assange says that he faces charges under seal in the USA for revealing sensitive government information on WikiLeaks, though the exact charges against him remain unclear.

If the British government guarantees that Julian Assange will not be extradited to a third country where he could face the death penalty, Assange should hand himself in to the authorities, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said.

Moreno underlined that Assange should not be scared that he could be transferred to a country where he could face the death penalty.

Though Moreno did not force Assange to leave the embassy, he stated that Assange's legal team is considering the next move.

For his part, Assange contends that the United Kingdom will extradite him to the US.

"The road is clear for Mr Assange to take the decision to leave", Moreno was quoted by the Associated Press as saying. Wikileaks has released thousands of classified U.S. military documents, among other disclosures.




United States 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.

Sweden has since dropped the case, and Ecuador says there are no pending extradition requests against him.

Assange could be questioned in the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election that brought President Donald Trump to office.

In recent months, Ecuador has clamped down on Assange and his behavior, cutting off his Internet access in March 2018 after making political statements that Ecuador said violated his agreement for sanctuary.

Mr Assange fled to the embassy to avoid charges of rape, sexual molestation and coercion.

"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. He faces charges of espionage, conspiracy, theft of government property, and computer fraud in the USA, and Donald Trump's administration has stated that the Wikileaks founder's arrest is a top priority.