Ecuador says United Kingdom has given enough guarantees for Assange to leave embassy

Assange turns down Ecuador deal to leave embassy

Courtesy YouTube

"The way has been cleared for Mr Assange to take the decision to leave in near-liberty", President Lenin Moreno told reporters. Assange has published troves of sensitive material, going back to military documents obtained by Chelsea Manning in 2010.

Ecuador's president says Britain has provided sufficient guarantees for Julian Assange to leave his government's embassy in London, where the WikiLeaks founder has been living under asylum since 2012.

Moreno, however, said Assange had to answer to Britain for violating asylum terms when the WikiLeaks founder asked for protection to avoid being sent to Sweden.

But nothing is preventing it from extraditing him to the USA if prosecutors there were to pledge not to seek the death penalty.

Ecuador's president has ramped up pressure on Julian Assange to leave his country's embassy in London, saying that Britain had provided sufficient guarantees that the WikiLeaks founder won't be extradited to face the death penalty overseas.

Those fears were heightened when U.S prosecutors last month mistakenly referenced criminal charges against him in an unrelated case.

Mr Assange founded WikiLeaks in 2006.

WikiLeaks has been a focus of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of any links between associates of President Donald Trump and Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Ecuador said that the United Kingdom has given such a guarantee, but Moreno said he needs clarification on the British position.

Known allegations against Assange include rape in Sweden, which does not carry a death penalty, but the United States could theoretically execute him for espionage. Transmitting defense information to be used for injuring the United States can be punishable by death.

His lawyer Carlos Poveda said last month that Assange was prepared to surrender to British police if he receives assurances he will not be extradited.

Addressing Assange's residency in the embassy, Moreno said: "I do not like the presence of Mr. Assange in the Ecuadorean embassy, but we have been respectful of his human rights and with that respect in mind we think that six years is too long for someone to remain almost incarcerated in an embassy".

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