speculation that Ecuador is in talks with the UK over the future of Assange
Ecuador is preparing to hand over the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the UK authorities in the “coming weeks or even days,” according to sources.
Russia Todays’ editor in Cheif said citing sources: “My sources tell [Julian] Assange will be handed over to Britain in the coming weeks or even days.”
“Like never before, I wish my sources were wrong,” she continued.
The claims come amid speculation that Ecuador is in talks with the UK over the future of Assange.
The Times reported Britain is locked in discussion to remove Assange from the London Embassy.
According to RT: Sir Alan Duncan, the Foreign Office minister, is said to be spearheading the diplomatic effort.
Sources close to Assange said he himself was not aware of the talks but believed that America was putting “significant pressure” on Ecuador, including threatening to block a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) if he continues to stay at the embassy.
The Times report comes just weeks before a visit to the UK by the newly-elected Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno, who has labeled Assange a “hacker”, an “inherited problem” and a “stone in the shoe.”
There have been other worrying signs indicating Assange is steadily becoming a troublemaker for Ecuador.
In late March this year, the Ecuadorian government has suspended Assange’s communication privileges with the outside world, cutting off his Internet connection at the embassy.
The move was sparked by Assange’s alleged breach of an agreement to refrain from interfering in other states’ affairs.
Previously, he blasted the Spanish government for cracking down on the Catalan independence movement.
Editor-in-chief of RT: “My sources tell me that @JulianAssange will be handed over to the #UK in the next weeks or days. Like never before I wish that my sources are wrong” https://t.co/rvN3ne3ifd
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) July 20, 2018
Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012 when he asked the Latin American state for asylum.
The 47-year-old was wanted by Sweden on sexual assault allegations, but feared the extradition would lead to him being transferred to the US and prosecuted without a fair trial.
The US has been saying that Assange was “engaged in terrorism,” with Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, last year calling his arrest a “priority.”
Over the years, WikiLeaks has published hundreds of thousands of classified US files, including the cables on the Iraq War, leaked by whistleblower Chelsea Manning in 2010.
Despite the Swedish investigation against him being closed in May last year, the Australian journalist was still unable to leave the embassy because of an outstanding British warrant for allegedly breaching bail conditions and no guarantees of him not being sent to the US.
Over the years, the whistleblower has been supported by activists and human rights groups, who demanded he be freed.
A UN panel also found that Assange’s stay in the embassy amounted to “arbitrary detention,” but it wasn’t enough to change his fate.