Ecuador denies it is expelling WikiLeaks founder Assange

Ecuador calls claims of Assange's explusion as 'an attempt to stain the dignity of the country.'

Sara Rubenstein,

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

The government of Ecuador on Friday night denied denied reports that it is expelling WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from its embassy in London.

WikiLeaks reported late Thursday night that Assange was being imminently expelled from the Ecuadorian embassy where he has sought refuge since 2012. WikiLeaks supporters gathered outside the embassy in protest on Friday and Assange was reportedly "prepared" for expulsion.

However, Ecuador's foreign ministry published a statement on Friday night, denying the claims of Assange's expulsion, calling it "an attempt to stain the dignity of the country."

Ecuador “categorically rejects the fake news that has circulated recently on social networks, many spread by an organization linked to Mr. Julian Assange, about an imminent termination of the diplomatic asylum granted to him since 2012,” the statement said.

“By releasing information that distorts the truth, [Assange] and his associates express once again their ingratitude and disrespect to Ecuador."

The foreign ministry added that Ecuador has filed a complaint to the United Nations over Assange's "illicit publications."

"Mr. Assange has rights but also obligations to comply with," the statement said. "No person under the jurisdiction of Ecuador is above the Law."

Ecuador's President Lenín Moreno cast blame on WikiLeaks earlier this week for spreading reports about corruption charges against him as well as publicizing family pictures on social media.

This is not the first scuffle between Ecuador and Assange. Last year, Ecuador demanded that Assange fund his own medical bills and clean up his pet cat's messes. Assange fought the demands in local and international courts, claiming that they were a violation of his human rights. The courts ruled against Assange.