Ecuador wants Julian Assange out of London embassy

Ecuador wants Julian Assange out of London embassy

ECUADOR wants Julian Assange out of its embassy in London and is seeking a “third country or a personality” to mediate a final settlement with Britain.

The Australian Wikileaks founder has been holed up in the embassy since 2012 after he was granted asylum.

Assange entered the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden over sexual assault charges that he vehemently denies.

Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa said the South American country was “considering and exploring the possibility of mediation” to end the “untenable” five-year impasse.

A statement by Assange’s legal team said he was being held unlawfully.

“The UN ruling, issued almost two years ago, is crystal clear in its language, Mr Assange is unlawfully and arbitrarily detained by the UK authorities and must be released.

“The UK should not permit itself to be intimidated by the Trump administration’s public threats to “take down” Mr Assange.”

Swedish prosecutors last year unexpectedly dropped their investigation into the allegations, which included a claim of rape. But Assange still faces arrest for breaching bail conditions if he steps outside the embassy and WikiLeaks has voiced fears that the US will seek his extradition and that there is a sealed indictment ordering his arrest.

WikiLeaks’ publications have included hundreds of thousands of US army war logs and state department diplomatic cables and more recently emails from the Democratic National Committee during the run-up to the 2016 US presidential election. The US attorney general, Jeff Sessions, said last May that Assange’s arrest was now a “priority”.

“No solution will be achieved without international cooperation and the cooperation of the United Kingdom, which has also shown interest in seeking a way out,” she told foreign correspondents in Quito, according to Agence France-Presse.

Assange, who has received numerous visitors to his modest quarters in the embassy, ranging from Nigel Farage to Lady Gaga, has described the period since his initial arrest as a “terrible injustice”. Not being able to see his children grow up was “not something I can forgive”, he said.

Mary Greeley