Ecuador Expected To Turn Assange Over To the US, Former President Correa Says
Ecuadorian government is likely to hand over Wikileaks founder
The Ecuadorian government is likely to hand over Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to Washington DC, despite them being legally obliged to protect him, Ecuador's former President Rafael Correa has said.
“I believe they are going to turn over Assange to the US government,” Correa said.
“The Ecuadorian state has to protect Assange’s rights; he is not just an asylum [seeker]; he is a citizen,” Correa added.
Assange is now meant to be protected by the Ecuadorian constitution, but it seems the government is desperate to please Washington.
According to RT: The WikiLeaks co-founder might be a bargaining chip in an arrangement between the Ecuadorian authorities and US Vice President Mike Pence, who visited the Latin American country and met with President Lenin Moreno earlier this year.
Quito’s behavior shows that it has “absolutely submitted” to Washington without actually earning any favor, Correa said.
His comments came a week after two US lawmakers called on Moreno to “hand Assange over to the proper authorities,” calling him “a dangerous criminal and a threat to global security.”
In the letter, representatives Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) spoke about the US willingness “to move forward in collaborating” with Moreno’s government, mulling enhanced economic cooperation and development aid from the US.
They portrayed Assange as an obstruction on the way to a bright future together for the two nations.
NEW: Ahead of midterms, ranking Democrat, but not Republican, of House Foreign Relations Committee pressures Ecuador's president @Lenin to hand over @WikiLeaks' publisher @JulianAssange "A dangerous criminal and a threat to global security"— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 17, 2018
Background: https://t.co/Mb6gXlz7QS pic.twitter.com/JIcH1pzvu7
The lawmakers stated that they were “particularly concerned to learn that your government restored Mr. Assange’s access to the Internet.”
Assange has been residing in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since June 2012 to avoid being extradited to the US over the publication of thousands of classified US diplomatic cables.
He escaped to the embassy after skipping bail in the UK.
In March, Ecuador cut off Assange’s communications after he discussed tensions between London and Moscow and Catalonian separatism on social media.
His internet and mobile phone access were partially restored earlier this month.
However, Ecuador also laid out a “Special Protocol” to Assange, which made “Assange's political asylum contingent on censoring his freedom of opinion, speech, and association,” according to WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks lawyer Baltasar Garzonis is expected to launch a case against Ecuador later this week by blaming it of violating Assange's “fundamental rights and freedoms.”
“They try to humiliate Assange but only humiliate themselves,” Correa told RT. ”These rules go against the human rights. They are trying to isolate Assange and to push him to abandon our embassy.”