Thursday, 18 January, 2018

Ecuador Wants Wikileaks's Assange out of London Embassy, Stay 'Untenable'

Ecuadoran President Lenin Moreno has been infuriated by Assange's criticism of his political allies abroad Ecuador seeks mediator to resolve 'untenable' Julian Assange standoff: Foreign minister
Lillian Steele | 12 January, 2018, 03:18

A statement by Mr Assange's legal team said: "The UN ruling, issued nearly two years ago, is crystal clear in its language". And Ecuador's considering outside help to resolve the case of Julian Assange.

Speaking at a news conference in Quito, Espinosa said Assange was granted naturalization on December 12. Assange later taunted after Lasso's loss that he would "cordially invite Lasso to leave Ecuador within 30 days".

Reuters reported it had found an entry for "Julian Paul Assange" in Ecuador's civilian registry.

"The Government of Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice", i.e., a British jail cell and a likely one-way ticket to federal prison in the US.

Swedish law enforcement officials dropped the sexual assault investigation into Assange previous year, but British authorities have said that they will still arrest him if he leaves the embassy. However, he is still facing an arrest warrant in London for failure to surrender to the court in 2012. Maria Fernanda Espinosa, Ecuador's foreign minister, said, "We're considering and exploring the possibility of a mediation".

If Assange had been granted a passport and Ecuadorian citizenship (or at least residency), they could have flown him to Ecuador under diplomatic cover at any time, at least in theory. While Swedish prosecutors dropped extradition requests related to sex crime allegations in May 2017, Assange fears that if British police detain him, United States prosecutors will immediately issue an extradition request over Wikileaks' decision to publish troves of secret U.S. military documents.

Assange also points out that he has no limitations under the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees (1951), under which Ecuador granted him asylum.

The Australian lives in a small office in the Ecuadorian embassy after Quito gave him asylum in 2012 when Sweden was investigating him for sex crimes.

A statement by Assange's legal team said he was being held unlawfully.

Sweden has subsequently dropped all investigations against Mr Assange, but he continues to fear extradition to the United States.

Ecuador's left-wing president Lenin Moreno, who took office in May, has been less friendly towards Assange than his predecessor Rafael Correa.

Assange's USA lawyer Barry Pollack had no comment.

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