WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may be running out of time after six years of being safe from prosecution in Ecuador’s embassy in London, according to a new report.
The British publication The Intercept last week published a story saying Ecuador’s new leader has had enough of Assange, and could use an upcoming trip to Britain as the moment to boot Assange from the refuge he has occupied since 2012.
Assange initially took refuge to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where he was wanted on rape and sexual misconduct charges.
Although the charges that caused Assange to go into the embassy have since been dropped, Assange has to worry about what the United States might do if he is booted from his safe haven, USA Today reported.
In 2010, WikiLeaks posted classified material dealing with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that was leaked by Chelsea Manning, who was then known as Bradley Manning. Manning was later court-martialed and jailed until former President Barack Obama commuted his sentence.
As noted by The Intercept in its reporting, the Trump administration has made no secret of its interest in punishing Assange for his role in leaking the documents Manning shared.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last year that arresting Assange was a “priority” as part of Sessions’s battle against leaks, The Guardian reported.
The Guardian said the deal to hand Assange over could be completed within the next few weeks, and that Moreno will finalize details when he visits Britain Friday.
As reported by Breitbart, Assange also played a role in the 2016 presidential election by publishing leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee.
Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno has described Assange as a “hacker,” an “inherited problem” and a “stone in the shoe.”
In late 2017, the embassy pulled Assange’s internet privileges, which had been granted to him on the grounds that he not interfere in the business of other nations.
A Times of London report said that Moreno and British authorities are working to find a solution to oust Assange from the embassy.
On Sunday, Ecuador issued a statement denying any action on Assange was imminent.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador informs that neither the Head of State of Ecuador nor any of the members of his delegation will address the issue of the asylum of Mr. Assange during his visit to the United Kingdom and Spain,” the statement said.
“The purpose of the trip is related exclusively to the participation of President Lenín Moreno in the Global Disabilities Summit in London, the advancement of the broad bilateral agenda with Spain, and the economic and commercial promotion of Ecuador in meetings to be held in Madrid and Edinburgh,” the statement added.
“The State of Ecuador will only address and encourage understandings regarding Mr. Assange’s asylum, within the framework of international law, with his attorneys and with the British Government. At the moment, given the complexity of the issue, there is no short or long-term solution in sight,” the statement added.
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