Friday, 05 April 2019 11:02

WikiLeaks claims Assange expulsion from embassy soon Featured

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WikiLeaks claims Assange expulsion from embassy soon Courtesy YouTube

WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange is likely to be expelled within "hours to days" from the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he has taken refuge for nearly seven years.

A tweet from WikiLeaks claimed: "A high level source within the Ecuadorian state has told @WikiLeaks that Julian Assange will be expelled within 'hours to days' using the #INAPapers offshore scandal as a pretext - and that it already has an agreement with the UK for his arrest." The whistleblower website sent a second tweet a little later, saying: "WikiLeaks now has secondary confirmation from another high level source within the Ecuadorian state."

The INA Papers are documents published in February 2019, allegedly uncovering the operations of INA Investment Corporation, an offshore tax haven created by the brother of Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno.

The emails, phone communications and expense receipts are claimed to link Moreno and his family to corrupt and criminal dealings, including money laundering and offshore accounts.

The leak has sparked an investigation by the Ecuadorian Congress. Moreno cannot be questioned during a criminal probe while he is president and would, therefore, have to be impeached in order to be questioned.

Assange has said 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.

In November 2018, 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.

The Assange saga began when he visited Sweden in August 2010 to attend a conference to give a talk. During that visit, he had sex with two women and they later filed rape and molestation complaints against him later, claims that he denied.

He was questioned by Swedish authorities and cleared, but did not leave the country at the time.

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

A legal back-and-forth eventuated and 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 granted Ecuadorian citizenship by a former president of the country, Rafael Correa.

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Sam Varghese

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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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