Julian Assange tried to turn Ecuadorian embassy into ‘centre for spying’, claims president
Julian Assange has been accused of trying to create a “centre for spying” in the Ecuadorian embassy that sheltered him by the nation’s president.
Lenin Moreno also said that no other country had an influence over the decision to revoke the WikiLeaks founder’s asylum, which the leader claimed followed repeated violations by Assange.
The comments in an interview with The Guardian show the degradation of Assange’s relationship with Ecuador, which allowed him to stay in the London embassy for nearly seven years.
What did Lenin Moreno say?
Mr Moreno, who became president in 2017, said his nation’s previous government provided facilities within the embassy “to interfere in processes of other states”.
“We cannot allow our house, the house that opened its doors, to become a centre for spying,” Mr Moreno told the Guardian.
“This activity violates asylum conditions. Our decision is not arbitrary but is based on international law.”
The president also made references to Assange’s apparently poor hygiene following allegations made by interior minister, Maria Paula Romo, which included Assange “putting faeces on the walls”.
What is Assange likely to do now?
Assange is now expected to fight extradition to the US over an allegation that he conspired with former army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break into a classified government computer.
The 47-year-old faces jail for breaching bail and possible extradition to the US after being dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy by police in dramatic scenes on Thursday.
Assange entered the London embassy in 2012 after losing his battle against extradition to Sweden where he faced allegations including rape.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has joined Assange’s supporters in saying he should be protected against extradition to the US because he exposed evidence of “atrocities” in Iraq and Afghanistan.
More than 70 MPs have also urged the Government to ensure Assange faces Swedish authorities if they request his extradition.
Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, disputed the Ecuadorian president's claims when she appeared on Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday.
What did Assange's lawyer say?
"I think the first thing to say is Ecuador has been making some pretty outrageous allegations over the past few days to justify what was an unlawful and extraordinary act in allowing British police to come inside an embassy,” Ms Robinson said.
Pressed over the veracity of the allegations, she said: “That’s not true.”
She also said Assange’s fears of a US extradition threat were proved correct this week after allegations were made that he conspired to hack into a classified Pentagon computer.