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Julian Assange


Ecuador’s new president says Julian Assange can stay at embassy

PUBLISHED Mon, May 29, 2017 - 9:35pm EDT

Ecuador's new president Lenin Moreno, who was critical of Julian Assange during his election campaign, said Monday that the founder of WikiLeaks will be allowed to stay at the country's embassy in London. (more)

Moreno, of the left-wing PAIS Alliance, called Assange a "hacker" during a conversation with local journalists. Moreno took office last week to succeed Rafael Correa, a member of the same party, who called Assange a journalist.

"Mr Assange is a hacker. That's something we reject and that I in particular personally reject," Moreno said, as quoted by the AFP news agency. Nonetheless, Moreno said he would respect the situation which Assange is currently in.

"It seems the British government is not going to grant safe passage, meaning that Mr Assange can continue living in the Ecuadorian embassy, and we will respect that condition," said Moreno, who previously warned Assange not to intervene in the politics of countries which are friendly to Ecuador.

Assange shared the news on his official Twitter account but took offense with the president's remarks, writing: "Who is misadvising [Lenin Moreno]? Saying that I am not allowed to 'talk about the politics of any country' then today slandering me as a 'hacker'?"

WikiLeaks releases stolen footage and documents which it obtains through third parties, but the organization has not been accused of hacking.

Assange entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in June 2012 after the UK's top court approved his extradition to Sweden, where he was wanted for questioning over rape allegations. The Ecuadorian government later granted political asylum to allow Assange to stay inside the compound, beyond the reach of British police.

Earlier this month, Swedish prosecutors announced that they had decided to drop both the arrest warrant and the rape investigation. But British police said Assange would still be arrested if he leaves the embassy, citing a British warrant which was issued after he failed to surrender for his extradition to Sweden.

In addition, the United Kingdom has refused to say whether it has received an extradition request from the United States.

The accusations are unrelated to Assange's work for the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, which unleashed a diplomatic scandal for the United States when it began releasing classified documents. Assange has claimed that the allegations are politically-linked, arguing that the sexual encounters in Sweden were consensual.

The accusations came just months after WikiLeaks' first big scoop in April 2010, when it released a classified video which showed a 2007 U.S. helicopter attack in Iraq that killed several unarmed civilians, including two Reuters journalists. Assange said in earlier interviews that he had been told to expect "dirty tricks" from the Pentagon, including "sex traps" to ruin his reputation.

More recently, WikiLeaks published stolen emails relating to the presidential campaign of former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This caused Ecuador to temporarily cut Assange's internet access at the embassy, citing its policy not to intervene in the internal affairs of other states.

  London, England        5 UPDATES



More Updates

 10 months   Sweden drops rape investigation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

              Swedish prosecutors have decided to drop the rape investigation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but British police say he will still be arrested if he decides to leave the embassy where he has been holed up for nearly 5 years. Read More

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 1 yr   Ecuador cuts Assange’s internet access for interfering in U.S. election

              Ecuador says it has decided to temporarily cut off WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's internet access, citing the group's interference in the U.S. presidential election, though the government indicated that it has no plans to evict him from its London embassy. Read More

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 2 yrs   WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says will surrender if UN case fails

              WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for nearly four years to avoid extradition to Sweden, says he is prepared to surrender to police on Friday if the United Nations rules against him. (more) Read More

  London, England        5 UPDATES



 2 yrs   France rejects asylum request by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, citing legal situation

              The French government says it "cannot act" on a public request for asylum from Julian Assange, citing his legal situation. The WikiLeaks founder, who is holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex crime allegations. In an open letter published in Le Monde, Assange asked French President François Hollande to grant him asylum to protect him from "the political persecution of which I am now the subject." [Full statement attached]

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