Home Strategy Assange may be handed over to UK this week: report
Assange may be handed over to UK this week: report Featured

The president of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, has either finalised, or is about to finalise, an agreement with the UK to end the asylum protection for WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange even as early as this week, The Intercept reports.

The website's editor, Glenn Greenwald, wrote that Moreno had begun an unofficial visit to London on Friday during which it was claimed things would be finalised to hand over Assange to British authorities.

Moreno is also due to visit Spain which had taken strong objection to Assange's criticism of alleged human rights abuses by Spain at the time when Catalonia launched protests for independence. Ecuador has blocked Assange from the Internet for the last three months, with his intervention in the Catalonia affair reportedly being the reason.

Ecuador signed a security agreement with the US in May, a sharp move away from policies pursued by the previous government led by Rafael Correa.

Greenwald wrote: "It is thus highly unlikely that Moreno — who has shown himself willing to submit to threats and coercion from the UK, Spain and the US — will obtain a guarantee that the UK not to extradite Assange to the US, where top Trump officials have vowed to prosecute Assange and destroy WikiLeaks."

In April, Assange lost a bid in court to get an UK arrest warrant against him dropped.

The Australian has been taking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since June 2012.

His problems began when he visited Sweden in August 2010 to attend a conference where he was scheduled to give a talk. During that visit, he had sex with two women whom he met. The pair filed rape and molestation complaints against him later, claims that he denied.

He was questioned by Swedish authorities and cleared of all accusations. He could have left the country then and there but stayed for a while, in case the authorities decided to question him again.

Interpol issued a Red Notice for his arrest on 20 November 2010. On 27 November, Assange surrendered to authorities and appeared before a Westminster judge. Bail was granted to him in December after his backers provided £240,000 in cash and sureties.

Then began a protracted period of legal back and forth that went on until June 2012, when Swedish prosecutors sought his extradition.

Assange's lawyers, among them the world-renowned Australian Geoffrey Robertson, replied that if he agreed to the extradition request, then he could be flown to the US from there.

On 19 June 2012, he jumped bail and took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy, seeking asylum in the South American country. British police surrounded the building and blocked any chance of his leaving.

Ecuador granted him asylum in August 2012. He has had to stay inside the four walls of the embassy since then. He was recently granted Ecuadorian citizenship.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

 

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