According to a growing number of sources, Ecuador authorities are about to hand WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over to the British authorities.
Ecuador says the reports are false.
Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of the English-language Russian television news network RT and of the Russian state-owned international news agency Rossiya Segodnya, is the latest to report the pending handover.
On Friday, journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept, said his sources were also saying the Assange’s asylum grant by Ecuador would soon be revoked.
In her posts, Simonyan said she hoped her sources were wrong. “It would be tragedy for free speech and an outrageous breach of international standards if Ecuador gives in to pressure from the UK and U.S. and allows Assange to be taken by UK police.”
According to Greenwald, the stated purpose for Moreno’s visit to London of delivering the keynote address at an international conference on disabilities is a ruse. “The concealed, actual purpose of the President’s trip is to meet with British officials to finalize an agreement under which Ecuador will withdraw its asylum protection of Julian Assange, in place since 2012, eject him from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and then hand over the WikiLeaks founder to British authorities” Greenwald says.
Ecuador calls the claim “ignorant speculation.” The foreign ministry says Assange is not on the agenda and that Moreno will not discuss the issue with British authorities during the visit.
Assange has lived in Ecuador’s British embassy since 2012 when he was granted political asylum by former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa. Assange was wanted for questioning by Swediesh police for an alleged rape and British authorities issued a warrant for his arrest. Although Sweden has called off the rape investigation, UK authorities have refused to withdraw their warrant and consider Assange a fugitive from justice.