Archive for Ecuador
The United Nations has ruled that Assange is being “illegally detained” by British and Swedish authorities. But the Trump administration took action against Assange this week, that go far beyond anything done by the Obama administration. As reported by Australian news outlet SBS, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made the arrest of Assange “a top priority.” In response to a question about Assange, Sessions said that every effort will be made to ensure that Assange ends up in jail. Jeff Sessions comments come in the wake of WikiLeaks publication of material from a leak of CIA intelligence files. Given the damage that the WikiLeaks revelations can do to the reputation of the U.S. establishment and to the CIA, it is no surprise to see that CIA director Mike Pompeo has lashed out at WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange. According to CBS News, Pompeo has called WikiLeaks a “hostile intelligence service.” Jeff Sessions and Mike Pompeo, have made it clear that Assange is one of their top priorities. They have also made it clear that it will not be safe for Assange to leave London’s Ecuadorian Embassy. Given that the UN have already declared that Assange is illegally detained, it could be argued that Sessions and the CIA have imposed a sentence of life imprisonment within the Ecuadorian Embassy.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange dodged an eviction order in Ecuador’s Sunday election, after the right-wing candidate who had vowed to kick him out of the country’s London embassy was set to narrowly lose a presidential election. Assange has been holed up in the tiny embassy for nearly five years, protected by Ecuador’s current leftist government from extradition to Sweden over rape allegations. Conservative presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso had vowed to roll back that welcome mat and remove Assange within 30 days of winning office, making global headlines and spooking Assange’s supporters. Government candidate Lenin Moreno, meanwhile, has promised to keep hosting Assange in the Andean country’s embassy – although he warned he may take a tougher stance. Moreno said in an interview with leftist broadcaster TeleSUR in February that he would ask Assange “not to intervene in the politics of countries that are friends of Ecuador.”
A lawyer representing Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said that there was a “great concern” that a new Ecuadorian President could force him out of the country’s London embassy, the media reported on Sunday. Ecuador’s presidential race will be decided in a run-off election, to be held April 2, between ruling party candidate Lenin Moreno and opposition candidate Guillermo Lasso. Moreno has indicated he would back Assange’s continued stay, while Lasso has indicated he would evict the Australian activist within 30 days of taking office. “We are preparing potential legal remedies should the opposition come to power in Ecuador,” Jennifer Robinson, a member of the legal team representing Assange and Wikileaks, told NBC News. “You don’t change asylum protections just because a change of government,” she added. Assange was granted asylum in Ecuador in 2012, and has been sheltering in the country’s UK embassy since then, in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault. The whistleblower said he fears Swedish authorities could deport him to the US, where he argues his work with Wikileaks could earn him life in prison or even the death penalty.
Julian Assange will be given a month’s notice to leave the Ecuadorian embassy if the country’s main opposition candidate wins the presidency in next week’s election. In an interview with the Guardian, Guillermo Lasso, of the rightwing Creo-Suma alliance, said it was time for the WikiLeaks founder to move on because his asylum was expensive and no longer justified. “The Ecuadorian people have been paying a cost that we should not have to bear,” he said during an interview in Quito. “We will cordially ask Señor Assange to leave within 30 days of assuming a mandate.” Even if there is no change in power in Quito, however, it seems increasingly likely that Assange will soon be moving from the cramped embassy in Knightsbridge that has been his refuge for more than four and a half years. Although the current government has maintained its position of solidarity, all involved have grown increasingly frustrated with a situation that Ecuador’s top diplomat described as “something out of a John le Carré novel”. “Our staff have been through a lot. There is a human cost,” said the foreign minister, Guillaume Long. “This is probably the most watched embassy on the planet.” British police and intelligence have kept the embassy under close surveillance since Ecuador granted asylum in June 2012 to prevent Assange’s extradition to Sweden for questioning about a sexual assault accusation.
Assange fears he is being bugged at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Lawyers claim the WikiLeaks founder, who has been holed up in the embassy for the past two years to avoid extradition to Sweden, ‘is most likely under auditory surveillance’. Last year a covert listening device was found behind a plug socket in the ambassador’s office, but security experts described it as rudimentary and unlikely to have been the work of police or the security services. Mr Assange’s new eavesdropping claim was included in a court submission last week in which his lawyers argue his confinement is a ‘deprivation of liberty’ under European law. Among other reasons, they cite his cramped living conditions which mean he ‘cannot carry out his professional duties in a normal fashion’. The 43-year-old has lived at the embassy since Ecuador gave him asylum in 2012.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange still has a right to political asylum in Ecuador, however, the resolution of the conflict depends purely on Britain, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said during a visit to Guatemala. “The situation with Assange could be resolved as early as tomorrow if the United Kingdom gives him a pass to leave the country,” Notimex news agency reported, quoting Tuesday’s statement by Correa. The Ecuadorean president claimed there are representatives in influential circuits, supporting capital punishment for Assange, which would be a violation of international law. At a press conference Monday, Assange claimed he would leave the Ecuadorean Embassy in London “soon,” without giving any further details. The WikiLeaks founder wants to be given guarantees that he will not be extradited to the United States once he leaves the embassy building, his lawyer Jennifer Robinson told ABC News on Tuesday. Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in central London since British courts ruled out in June 2012 his extradition to Sweden, where the whistleblower is facing sexual assault charges.
WikiLeaks website founder Julian Assange will leave the Embassy of Ecuador in London only when the cordon around the embassy is lifted, WikiLeaks spokesman and Assange’s lawyer Kristinn Hrafnsson said in an interview with RT. Assange is indeed planning to leave the embassy, but only if the British government “calls off the siege outside,” Hrafnsson said. In an interview with Fairfax Media, Assange said he awaits legal reforms in the United Kingdom that will help him find the proper solution to the threat of extradition to Sweden. Earlier the same day, the Wikileaks founder said he may soon leave Ecuador’s embassy in London, where he has sought refuge for more than two years.