Ecuador’s president Lenin Moreno confirmed that that the long stay of the founder of WikiLeaks founder might be nearing its end and Julian Assange will eventually have to leave this country’s embassy in London and face the music.
“It’s amounts to a violation of human rights – to stay in a shelter for so long. The only thing we want is a guarantee that [Assange’s] life is not in danger. We have already discussed this and are in talks with Assange’s lawyers and the British government,” Moreno said as quoted by RIA Novosti.
Previously, the media reported that Ecuadorian and British officials were in talks about the hacker’s future.
The creator of the WikiLeaks portal has been staying in the London embassy of Ecuador since 2012. In 2016, Assange spearheaded the release of emails from the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta, a close aide to Hillary Clinton. British officials have said they would arrest Assange for breaching prior bail conditions should he step outside the embassy’s doors.
His stay came at a cost to Ecuadorian authorities as the government has spent at least $ 5 million to ensure the security of Assange. Ecuador hired agents who check all visitors to the founder of WikiLeaks keep eye on the actions of Assange himself.
The discontent of the Ecuadorian authorities is also caused by the fact that Assange continues to disseminate information that could harm Ecuador itself.
In March 2018, the embassy cut Internet on Assange after he refused to give a written commitment not promised not to disseminate information that may be harmfull to other countries.
Assange fears that he can be extradited to the United States, where he is in for long-term imprisonment for publishing classified documents of the US Department of State.
However, during Barack Obama’s presidency, the US pardoned Assange’s whistleblower Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning), who served a 35-year sentence for publishing classified Pentagon documents.
It is worth reminding that Assange has previously promised to appear before the US court only if Washington pardons Manning.
In 2017, Assange gave an interview to a Russian journalist Vladimir Pozner. Asked why he did not ask for asylum in Russia, Assange replied: “Ecuador has never been perceived as an opponent of the West. Should I asked for asylum in Russia it would be used in the smear campaign that the Western press is leading.”
Assange can also fear persecution from Sweden. In the summer of 2010, he was under an investigation of sexual harassment in relation to two women. In the spring of 2017, Swedish authorities dropped the case against the founder of WikiLeaks.