Ecuador gags Assange over Catalunya with eviction threat

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The president of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, has warned WikiLeak founder Julian Assange that he will “take action” if Assange continues talking about Catalonia. Morena was reinforcing his threat to evict Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

“We have given Mr. Assange a condition: that he stops intervening in politics and the countries’ self-determination; otherwise, measures will be taken,” Moreno said in an interview with Ecuador TV (El Periódico, in Spanish).

It is understood that Quito and London are working at a high diplomatic level to ensure Assange leaves the embassy, while still his respecting his human rights. Chancellor José Valencia Amores said that his office is seeking “an understanding within the framework of international law … there is no fixed term [for a solution] because the case is complex.” (El Telégrafo, in Spanish)

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.

Earlier reporting

July 24: President 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 described Assange 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.

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