Julian Assange may soon be leaving Ecuador’s embassy in London, where he has been taking refuge since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden (Independent).
Several reports claim Ecuador is getting ready to withdraw its asylum protection for Assange after six years, amid pressure from the United States and the United Kingdom.
Eucadorean President Lenin Moreno is allegedly set to finalize the deal to turn Assange over in the coming days. Moreno, who is in a wheelchair, is attending a London global summit on disabilities (Reuters). Moreno was elected president in May and has made it quite clear he isn’t too fond of his country’s role in protecting Assange, who he has descried as a “hacker,” a “stone in the shoe” for his administration, and an “inherited problem.”
Initially, Assange sought asylum because Sweden was seeking to interview him about rape allegations. Sweden has an extradition treaty with the U.S., where Assange is also wanted over leaks of classified information, as well as with the UK.
Ecuador’s government has been particularly angry at how Assange’s support for separatist movements in Catalonia led to complaints from Spain. In a sign of the growing tensions between Assange and his hosts, Ecuador cut off Assange’s access to the internet and severely restricted his access to visitors earlier this year.
According to sources cited by Reuters “the situation is very serious. Things are coming to a head.” [The latest information from inside the embassy is] “not looking good”.
Reports of an imminent eviction were stirred by a YouTube video showing furniture being removed out of the embassy in vans.
However, both the Ecuadorean government and British government sources played down suggestions that there was likely to be any imminent movement to break the stalemate.