) irishtimes.com - Assange tried to use embassy as ‘centre for spying’ – Ecuadorian president - Sun Apr 14 23:39:29 IST 2019

Assange tried to use embassy as ‘centre for spying’ – Ecuadorian president

Last Updated: Sunday, April 14, 2019, 23:43

Julian Assange repeatedly violated his asylum conditions and tried to use the Ecuadorian embassy in London as a “centre for spying”, Ecuador’s president has said.

In an interview with the Guardian, Lenín Moreno also said he had been given written undertakings from Britain that Mr Assange’s fundamental rights would be respected and that he would not be sent anywhere to face the death penalty.

Mr Assange (47) was taken from the embassy by British police last Thursday after Ecuador revoked his political asylum, ending a stay there of nearly seven years.

The WikiLeaks co-founder faces up to 12 months in prison after being found guilty of breaching his bail conditions when he entered the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012. He made the move after losing a battle against extradition to Sweden where he faced allegations including of rape, which he denies.

He is expected to fight extradition to the US over an allegation that he conspired with the former army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break into a classified government computer. Sweden is weighing up whether to reopen an investigation into the rape and sexual assault allegations. When there are competing extradition requests in the UK, the home secretary decides which country should take priority.

Mr Moreno’s move against Mr Assange has proved controversial in Ecuador. The previous president, Rafael Correa, has accused his one-time political ally of “a crime humanity will never forget” and described Mr Moreno as “the greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history”.

In what may have been part of a campaign to weaken Mr Moreno, WikiLeaks was linked to an anonymous website that claimed Mr Moreno’s brother had created an offshore company, and it leaked material included private pictures of Mr Moreno and his family. – Guardian