Published: Fri, December 07, 2018

Ecuador's Moreno says Wikileaks' Assange can leave embassy if he wants

Ecuador's Moreno says Wikileaks' Assange can leave embassy if he wants

"The way has been cleared for Mr. Assange to take the decision to leave in near-liberty", Moreno told The Telegraph.

If the British government guarantees that Julian Assange will not be extradited to a third country where he could face the death penalty, Assange should hand himself in to the authorities, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said.

In November a filing error revealed that Mr Assange faced charges in the United States - although it was not clear what those charges were.

Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012, when he was granted asylum while facing allegations of sex crimes in Sweden that he said were a guise to extradite him to the US.

Ecuador has been seeking a way to terminate Assange's stay for several months, amid souring relations with its embassy guest, who recently sued Quito for restricting his internet access.

WikiLeaks has been used for the release of thousands of classified U.S. military and diplomatic cables.


USA prosecutors last month inadvertently revealed the existence of a sealed indictment against Assange, according to WikiLeaks, but it was not known what the actual charges were. Assange has repeatedly suggested he might be apprehended outside the embassy and extradited to the United States.

The site in 2016 also posted thousands of emails stolen from Democrats by Russian military intelligence officers.

Julian Assange speaks to the media from the balcony of the Embassy Of Ecuador on May 19, 2017 in London, England.

Sweden has since dropped that case, and Ecuador says there are no pending extradition requests against the WikiLeaks founder.

In November, WikiLeaks suggested that the U.S. authorities might have brought sealed charges against Assange, citing a filing in an unrelated case that used Assange's name in an "apparent cut-and-paste error".

The mounting tensions have drawn Mr Moreno closer to the position of Britain, which for years has said it is barred by law from extraditing suspects to any jurisdiction where they would face capital punishment.

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