Friday, 07 December 2018 09:19

Assange turns down Ecuador deal to leave embassy

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Assange turns down Ecuador deal to leave embassy Courtesy YouTube

WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange's lawyer has refused to buy into an agreement announced by Ecuador President Lenin Moreno for him to leave the country's London embassy after more than six years of taking refuge there.

Moreno was reported as saying on Thursday that there was a path for Assange to "exit into near freedom", noting that any sentence which the UK imposed on him for skipping bail would not be more than six months.

He indicated that the UK has told Quito that Assange would not face extradition to the US, which is what the WikiLeaks chief fears.

Assange's lawyer, Barry Pollack, told Britain's Telegraph newspaper that the deal was unacceptable.

Last month, it emerged that the US may have already filed charges against Assange. This came to light after portions of a complaint against him were apparently cut and pasted into a complaint against an unrelated individual, Seitu Sulayman Kokayi.

Pollack said that any suggestion Assange need not fear persecution just because the death penalty was not being considered for him by the US was wrong.

He said nobody should face criminal charges for publishing the truth and, since such charges appeared to have been filed against Assange, Ecuador should continue to give him protection.

Assange has said in the past that he fears being extradited to the US if he leaves the embassy in London. Last year, US officials said arresting him was a top priority.

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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