Ecuador showing Assange the door as U.S. charges loom


"There is a path for Mr Assange to take the decision to exit into near freedom", Moreno was quoted by Reuters as saying in a radio interview.

That has always been a concern for Assange and those advocating for him, as he could potentially face the death penalty if extradited to the United States for his leak of a huge trove of diplomatic cables in 2010.

Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012, when he was granted asylum while facing allegations of sex crimes in Sweden that he said were a guise to extradite him to the U.S.

Ecuadoran President Lenin Moreno hinted this week that gears are in motion to end Julian Assange's more than five-year stay at the South American country's embassy in London, prompting speculation that he could face extradition to the United States, where he faces criminal charges.

Mr Moreno said today that Mr Assange still faces jail time in Britain for violating bail terms when he sought sanctuary to avoid extradition to Sweden so authorities could quiz him as part of a sexual assault investigation.

Julian Assange speaks to the media from the balcony of the Embassy Of Ecuador on May 19, 2017 in London, England.

Assange, who gained global renown by publishing huge caches of hacked State Department and Pentagon files, has repeatedly expressed fear that Britain would extradite him to the United States to face charges there.

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Those fears were heightened when U.S prosecutors last month mistakenly referenced criminal charges against him in an unrelated case.

There is speculation that the United States 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.

Assange founded WikiLeaks as a whistle-blower organization in Iceland in 2006.

In July, Mueller charged 12 Russian spies with conspiring to hack the Democratic National Committee computers, stealing and publishing data in an effort to sway the election.

"The British government sent us an official communication indicating that the constitution of Great Britain bars extradition of a person to a place where his life would be in danger", Moreno said.

President Moreno said the sentence for skipping bail would be "not long". He added that his government had received written assurances from the United Kingdom government that they will not extradite Assange to any country where he would face the death penalty.