Published: Sat, December 08, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Conditions met for Assange to leave Ecuador embassy in London

Conditions met for Assange to leave Ecuador embassy in London

Assange fears he could face the death penalty for his role in the US for leaking classified information.

"The way has been cleared for Mr Assange to take the decision to leave in near-liberty", President Lenin Moreno told reporters.

Moreno said Assange did not need to fear he would be transferred to a country where he could face the death penalty: "According to the British government, they would never extradite a person to a country where his life is at risk".

Ecuador's president said Thursday that conditions have been met for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to leave the country's embassy in London, which would end a more than six-year-long standoff with British authorities.

Assange insists British authorities will hand him over to the US.

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He did not say he would force Assange out of his country's embassy but said Assange's legal team is considering its next steps.

Federal criminal charges against Assange have been filed secretly in the U.S. and were accidentally leaked in a court filing for an unrelated case several weeks ago.

Assange entered the embassy after two years of battling an extradition to Sweden to be questioned by prosecutors, who were considering whether charges should be brought against Assange for sexual assault. This comes as special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the alleged links between US President Donald Trump's associates and Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Julian Assange speaks to the media from the balcony of the Embassy Of Ecuador on May 19, 2017 in London, England. The investigation in Sweden was later dropped, and Ecuador said there were no pending extradition requests against Assange. Assange has published troves of sensitive material, going back to military documents obtained by Chelsea Manning in 2010. "We will protect Assange's rights".

Moreno noted that Assange still faced jail time in the United Kingdom for violating bail terms when he sought asylum to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where authorities wanted to question him as part of a rape investigation. The Justice Department prepared an indictment against the WikiLeaks founder in which prosecutors inadvertently mentioned charges against him.

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