Ecuador refutes WikiLeaks, denies decision made to expel Julian Assange

Ecuador refutes WikiLeaks, denies decision made to expel Julian Assange

Kerry Wise
April 8, 2019

An independent rights expert will visit WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadoran embassy in London to assess whether privacy violation claims involving him merit investigation, the United Nations rights office said Thursday.

"Mr Assange has violated the agreement we reached with him and his legal counsel too many times", Moreno said.

In a tweet, WikiLeaks claims it has been told by two senior Ecuadorian officials that Mr Assange is to be expelled imminently.

WikiLeaks said Ecuador would use the INA Papers offshore scandal as a pretext and that the country that had given Assange refuge had an agreement with the United Kingdom for his arrest. Two supporters wearing so-called Anonymous masks also briefly held up a placard with the text "Free Julan Assange" at the entrance to the building where the embassy is located.

A British friend said Assange was "prepared" for expulsion from the building he has lived in for almost seven years, after Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno said he had "repeatedly violated" the terms of his asylum.

No embassy official or any British authorities commented on the WikiLeaks founder's status.

Clara explained the "dirty dealings" surrounding Moreno, who is embroiled in charges of fraud, corruption and perjury and that he now accuses Assange of hacking his emails and mobile phone and passing information to an opposition politician.

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Relations between Mr Assange and Ecuador have grown increasingly prickly as the years have dragged on, and the Australian has faced increasing pressure to leave the embassy in recent months.

An advertising lorry displaying a billboard with photos of Assange and Chelsea Manning with USA flag gags across their mouths and the words "Freespeech. except for war crimes" was briefly parked directly in front of the embassy.

However, the President can not be summoned for a criminal probe while he remains president. Both Moreno and Foreign Minister Jose Valencia have pointed to the alleged role of WikiLeaks and Assange in the leak of the so-called INA papers that led to a corruption scandal involving the president.

Assange took refuge in the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden. The Swedish chief prosecutor dropped proceedings against him in 2017 because going ahead and serving notice of charges would necessitate Assange's presence in court.

Although the case has recently been dropped, Assange remained in the embassy for fears of extradition to the USA, where he is facing criminal charges over his work with the whistleblowing site.

The Ecuadorian government's current anger with Assange has to do with the publication of the INA Papers, a collection of documents which appear to show an illegal money trail from a Chinese company which built a massive hydroelectric dam in Ecuador.