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Archive for Ecuador

Newsline: Wikileaks founder could leave Ecuador embassy in London ‘any day’

Julian Assange could leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has lived for six years ‘any day now’ after the US and Spain increased pressure on the country to stop shielding him. The Wikileaks founder’s situation at the embassy is ‘unusually bad’, and Mr Assange may be forced out or choose to leave on his own because of extra restrictions. Mr Assange’s position is ‘in jeopardy’, a source told CNN. Last week the President of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, ordered the removal of extra security at the embassy which has cost the country at least £3.7 million. The operation – initially called ‘Operation Guest’ and later ‘Operation Hotel’ – ran up an average cost of at least $66,000 (£48,885) a month.



Newsline: Ecuador to remove Julian Assange’s extra security from London embassy

The president of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, has ordered the withdrawal of additional security assigned to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has remained for almost six years. The move was announced a day after an investigation by the Guardian and Focus Ecuador revealed the country had bankrolled a multimillion-dollar spy operation to protect and support Assange, employing an international security company and undercover agents to monitor his visitors, embassy staff and even the British police. Over more than five years, Ecuador put at least $5m (£3.7m) into a secret intelligence budget that protected him while he had visits from Nigel Farage, members of European nationalist groups and individuals linked to the Kremlin. Rafael Correa, the then Ecuadorian president who approved of the operation, later defended the security measures as “routine and modest”. However, his successor, Moreno, appears to differ in his view. His government said in a statement: “The president of the republic, Lenin Moreno, has ordered that any additional security at the Ecuadorian embassy in London be withdrawn immediately. “From now on, it will maintain normal security similar to that of other Ecuadorian embassies.” Moreno has previously described Assange’s situation as “a stone in his shoe”.


Newsline: Ecuador cuts Julian Assange’s internet access at London embassy

Ecuador has cut off Julian Assange’s communications with the outside world from its London embassy, where the founder of the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks has been living for nearly six years. In a statement, the government of Ecuador said that it had acted because Assange had breached “a written commitment made to the government at the end of 2017 not to issue messages that might interfere with other states”. According to the statement, Assange’s recent behaviour on social media “put at risk the good relations Ecuador maintains with the UK, with other states of the European Union, and with other nations”. The government acted after Assange tweeted critically on Monday of Britain’s accusation that Russia was responsible for the nerve agent poisoning of a Russian former double agent and his daughter in the city of Salisbury earlier this month. Assange also questioned the decision by the UK and more than 20 other countries to expel 150 Russian diplomats they claim are spies.


Newsline: Assange isn’t leaving the Ecuadorian embassy anytime soon

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may stay holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London after a British judge ruled Tuesday not to drop charges against him — but the hacktivist still maintains hope of walking free. Assange, 46, has hidden out in the embassy for the last five years, avoiding extradition to Sweden on rape charges, as well as a bail-violation rap in the UK. Sweden dropped the rape case against him, but the Brits still want to take Assange to court for breaching the conditions of his bail. His lawyer said the bail case should be dropped now that Sweden doesn’t want to charge Assange.


Newsline: Julian Assange pleads to leave Ecuadorian embassy because of ‘depression and bad tooth’

Julian Assange has pleaded for a warrant for his arrest to be cancelled so he can leave the Ecuadorian embassy as he is suffering from “depression and a terribly bad tooth”. The Wikileaks founder, who has been holed up for five and a half years, has argued that the only thing stopping him leaving the building and heading to the South American country is a threat he will be held by police for breaching his bail conditions. His lawyers argue that as proceedings in Sweden over rape allegations have now been dropped the British arrest warrant has lost its purpose.


Newsline: WikiLeaks may walk free from Ecuador embassy on February 6

A London court will rule on February 6 whether to drop an arrest warrant against Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, after his lawyers made a surprise request for the move in Westminster Magistrate’s Court. Assange, who has spent the past five years holed up in the Ecuador embassy, next door to Harrods in London’s posh Knightsbridge district, asked his lawyers to argue that the warrant, issued after he breached his bail conditions, be discontinued after Swedish authorities confirmed that their extradition warrant is no longer live. Assange, 46, breached his bail conditions and requested asylum in the embassy in 2012 in order to avoid extradition to Sweden over an allegation of rape, which he has consistently denied. Swedish prosecutors confirmed they had dropped the investigation against him last year but Assange could still be arrested if he leaves the building in Knightsbridge due to his skipping of the UK bail conditions. In the Westminster Magistrates Court his lawyers argued now that the Swedish case had been dropped the warrant had “lost its purpose and its function”.


Newsline: Ecuador tried to make Julian Assange a diplomat

Ecuador granted citizenship to Julian Assange and tried to register him as a diplomat in order to secure his release from the nation’s London embassy. The first part of Ecuador’s plan worked: Assange won his citizenship and donned the Ecuadorian national football team’s shirt to prove it. But when Ecuador asked the UK to register Assange as a diplomat, an act that would have made him immune to some laws, British authorities quickly saw through the ploy and denied the request. Assange applied for citizenship on September 16th, 2017, and was granted it on December 12th in the same year. Four days later, Ecuador applied to register him as a diplomat. A rebuff apparently came within hours. Ecuador and the UK have since traded statements. Ecuador’s said it wants an end to Assange’s epic couch-surfing effort. The UK’s said the way to do so is the have Assange hand himself in to face bail-jumping charges. Assange has repeatedly said he won’t do that, because he fears extradition to the USA. Jeff Sessions, the USA’s attorney-general, has made it abundantly clear that the book will be hurled, with extreme prejudice, directly at the leaker-in-chief.