WikiLeaks: Assange to be evicted from 'embassy within hours'

WikiLeaks says that Ecuador already has an agreement with the UK for Assange's eviction and arrest.

Sara Rubenstein,

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

WikiLeaks reported late Thursday night that its founder, Julian Assange, will be expelled shortly from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, citing "high-level" sources in Ecuador.

The Australian founder of WikiLeaks has sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012 to avoid being extradited to Sweden for investigation of sexual assault charges, of which he claims innocence. He also could face extradition to the United States if he leaves the embassy for publishing hacked State Department and Pentagon files in 2010.

WikiLeaks wrote on their Twitter page that Ecuador has already formed an agreement with the United Kingdom for Assange's eviction and arrest. An hour later, another WikiLeaks tweet wrote that it now has "secondary confirmation from another high-level source."

Ecuador's President Lenín Moreno is reportedly carrying out Assange's eviction in order to obtain debt relief from the United States but it's widely believed that his decision is connected to WikiLeak's tweet on March 26 that President Moreno is being investigated by Ecuador’s Congress for corruption.

WikiLeaks said to the Associated Press: “If President Moreno wants to illegally terminate a refugee publisher’s asylum to cover up an offshore corruption scandal, history will not be kind."

Moreno accused the 47-year-old Assange on Ecuadoran radio of leaking private photographs of him and his family and intercepting his messages. “Assange has too often repeatedly violated the agreement we have with him and his legal team,” the Ecuadoran president said.

“It is not that he cannot speak freely, it is not that he cannot express himself freely, but he cannot lie, let alone hack into accounts or intercept private telephone calls under the terms of his asylum agreement."

Supporters of Assange and Wikileaks have flocked to the embassy, setting up orange pop-up tents with large teddy bears inside and lighting candles in protest of the Ecuadorian decision.

It is believed that Assange will be arrested by British authorities when he exits the embassy building, although the only current criminal proceedings against him is his failure to show up in court for the Swedish extradition hearing. Prosecutors in Stockholm have already abandoned the criminal claims against him. It remains to be seen whether the US will seek Assange's extradition to the United States.

The Australian reported that Mr. Assange’s mother Christine asked the public to rally to Assange's defense by forming a "citizens' vigil" and live streaming the embassy.




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