Published: Sat, December 08, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Britain promises not to extradite Julian Assange

Britain promises not to extradite Julian Assange

Barry Pollack, a lawyer of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, has rejected the deal that Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said he had struck with the UK authorities, giving the whistleblower guarantees that he can leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London without fearing that he would be put on death row outside the United Kingdom.

President Moreno also said, "I do not like the presence of Mr. Assange in the Ecuadorean embassy, but we have been respectful of his human rights".

"There is a path for Mr Assange to take the decision to exit into near freedom", Moreno said in a local radio interview.

Assange has maintained that Britain will hand him over to the U.S. Last month, a U.S. federal judge deferred action on deciding whether to reveal charges against Assange, the existence of which were accidentally made public in an unrelated case.

U.S. prosecutors last month inadvertently revealed the existence of a sealed indictment against Assange, according to WikiLeaks, but it was not known what the actual charges were.

Assange entered the embassy after two years of battling an extradition to Sweden to be questioned by prosecutors, who were considering whether charges should be brought against Assange for sexual assault.

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WikiLeaks has been a focus of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of any links between associates of President Donald Trump and Russian efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Assange and the Ecuadorian embassy, which the 47-year-old has called home since 2012, have experienced tensions in recent months, with Ecuador cutting off Assange's communications in March, after he discussed topics online that could have damaged the country's diplomatic relations.

United States prosecutors inadvertently revealed the existence of a sealed indictment against Assange last month, according to WikiLeaks.

Ecuador's president has ramped up pressure on Julian Assange to leave his country's embassy in London, saying that Britain had provided sufficient guarantees that the WikiLeaks founder won't be extradited to face the death penalty overseas.

But he said Ecuador was not about to throw Assange out. "We will protect Assange's rights".

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

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