Ecuador's president says Julian Assange should leave embassy soon

Ecuador's president says Julian Assange should leave embassy soon

The 251,000 classified cables from USA embassies around the world - released by WikiLeaks in 2010 and published by leading global newspapers - embarrassed the Bush administration in Washington and caused ructions in its bilateral relations with other countries.

While Moreno says Britain has assured Ecuador that Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, will not face extradition if he leaves the embassy, he will face arrest by United Kingdom authorities and upwards of six months in prison for skipping bail.

Assange says that he faces charges under seal in the United States for revealing sensitive government information on WikiLeaks, though the exact charges against him remain unclear. Then-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in April 2017 that arresting Assange was a "priority".

Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno said on Thursday that "the way has been cleared" for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to leave the country's embassy in London.

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. However, the Ecuadorian President has ramped up the pressure on Assange to leave the Ecuadorian embassy.

There is speculation that the U.S. interest in Assange is connected to the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 election that brought President Donald Trump to office.

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Last month, an inadvertent court filing in a case unrelated to Assange revealed that he has been charged in secret.

In recent months, Ecuador has clamped down on Assange and his behavior, cutting off his Internet access in March 2018 after making political statements that Ecuador said violated his agreement for sanctuary.

Assange in turn sued, saying his rights as an Ecuadorian - he was granted citizenship past year as part of an apparent attempt to name him a diplomat and ferry him to Russian Federation - were being violated.

Mr Assange has denied any connection to Russian Federation.

Assange faces a British arrest warrant over violating bail conditions by seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in 2012, but Sweden, which originally sought to question him on sexual abuse allegations, has said it is no longer seeking to extradite him.

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