After the United Kingdom has guaranteed that the founder of Wikileaks will not be extradited to the US, President Lenín Moreno invited Julian Assange to leave Ecuador's embassy in London, because his time of asylum in the diplomatic building after six years is about to run out.
The way is here for Mr. Assange to make the decision to go out to almost freedom, Moreno said Thursday in a radio interview. He added that the United Kingdom has guaranteed that the Australian will not be extradited to any country if his life is in danger.
Assange sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012, when he was facing charges in Sweden for alleged sexual abuse. That case was shelved, but the founder of Wikileaks fears that if he leaves the diplomatic legation he may be arrested by British authorities, who wants him for violating precautionary measures, which would be the least of his worries. The threat to Assange is a likely extradition to the United States to account for the disclosure of state secrets.
But Moreno explained he had been assured that such a scenario will not occur. They sent us an official communication from the British Government stating that the Constitution of Great Britain prevents a person from being extradited to a place where there is danger to his life, Moreno insisted.
Nevertheless, the Australian Assange will have to answer for breach of probation. ”Let's not forget that he did not appear in the British courts and he has to pay (...) for that, which will be decided by the British judiciary,” Moreno said.
The Ecuadorian president also addressed the question of Donald Trump's presidential campaign manager Paul Manafort, who met with Moreno in May 2017, just after the Ecuadorian presidential elections.
Manafort is said to have brought along a group of Chinese investors who were interested in participating in strategic sectors of Ecuador. But since the Ecuadorian Constitution prevents foreign capital in such businesses, the meeting ended without agreement.
Moreno insisted during Thursday's interview that at no point did those talks include Assange, which is what the United States is investigating, according to a CNN report, after The Guardian published that Assange and Manafort had also met.
Assange has been at odds with his hosts since the end of Rafael Correa's term and Moreno's accession to the presidency. About a year ago, Moreno himself ordered that Assange be banned from any access to the internet, to avoid further diplomatic troubles.
In mid-October this year, the Ecuadorian government imposed a protocol of cohabitation that forced him to pay his living expenses, to undergo quarterly medical examinations and that his visits were previously authorized, in exchange for returning him access to the internet. Assange claimed his new living conditions were in violation of his human rights and because, indirectly, he was being forced out of the embassy. If he did not meet the conditions, Ecuador could withdraw the asylum.
It was not the first time that the Latin American country thought of alternatives to solve the Assange issue.
Last year, Assange was granted Ecuadorian citizenship although he did not meet all the legal requirements. The move aimed at getting him a diplomatic safe-conduct and move to the Russian embassy in London, but the option was rejected by the UK.