Assange used Ecuador's embassy for 'spying', says president

The writer is a freelance contributor based in London

A lawyer for the Australian hacker, who remains jailed in London pending a ruling on possible extradition to the USA, has accused Ecuador of hurling "outrageous allegations" to distract from their "unlawful" abandonment of her client.

Moreno accused Assange of using the embassy as a "centre for spying" in an interview with the UK's The Guardian newspaper after the arrest, and said that this was why Ecuador revoked his asylum.

Video footage shows WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange skateboarding in London's Ecuadorian embassy. He said he regretted that Assange had used the embassy to interfere in other country's democracies.

Julian Assange, dressed in a vest and shorts, skateboards around his bedroom in the Ecuadorian embassy.

The comments in an interview with The Guardian newspaper show the degradation of Assange's relationship with Ecuador, which allowed him to stay in the London embassy for almost seven years. But Moreno denied to the Guardian that he acted as a reprisal.

"We cannot allow our house, the house that opened its doors, to become a centre for spying", Moreno said, in an apparent reference to the leaked pictures. Sweden is considering reviving the investigation.

"The key issue at the moment is USA extradition, which we have warned about for many years", she added.


Should Stockholm make a request to extradite Assange, the UK government will have to consider whether this should be done before or after that of the United States, where the 47-year-old is fighting a U.S. extradition warrant relating to the release by WikiLeaks of a huge cache of official documents.

Assange's arrest is troubling for whistleblowers * How WikiLeaks' Assange outstayed his welcome * 'This is not legal, I'm not leaving': Assange arrested * What happens next with WikiLeaks founder Assange?

Assange has had "a very hard time" since Moreno took office in Ecuador in 2017, Robinson said.

Although Swedish authorities abandoned their case against Assange in 2017, supporters of WikiLeaks have long feared his possible extradition could ultimately involve his relocation to the United States, where he remains wanted over his role in the leaking of classified military and diplomatic cables from 2010 onward.

"I think the first thing to say is Ecuador has been making some pretty outrageous allegations over the past few days to justify what was an unlawful and extraordinary act in allowing British police to come inside an embassy", Robinson said.

If Stockholm makes a formal extradition request, the British government will have to decide whether to consider it before or after that of the United States.

Assange, who sought refuge within the embassy in August, 2012, was dramatically arrested last Thursday. In the meantime, he is expected to seek prison medical care for severe shoulder pain and dental problems, WikiLeaks has said.

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