Julian Assange has been granted an Ecuadorian passport, just one day after threatening to evict him from their London Embassy, according to a report in Ecuador's largest newspaper and confirmed by ZeroHedge.
Earlier today the WikiLeaks founder tweeted a picture of himself wearing an Ecuador football shirt, fueling speculation over his possible citizenship.
Ecuador's largest newspaper, El Universo originally reported the news, citing "reliable sources" (translated):
Five and a half years after Rafael Correa and his then Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño gave him asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador in London, where he continues, the director of Wikileaks Julian Assange now has a certificate of Ecuadorian citizenship, with a code corresponding to the province of Pichincha
Reliable sources confirmed that the document number granted by the Ecuadorian civil registry to Assange is 1729926483 and that a passport had already been issued to him . It appears with the condition of "Inscrip.As400", term with which late inscriptions are identified, for which an old database was used.
ZeroHedge verified the registration on the Ecuadorian Internal Revenue Service website, noting "The taxpayer is not registered in the SRI database."
Word of the passport comes on the heels of news that Ecuador was planning to evict Assange, issuing a veiled statement that described his situation as "untenable." Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda said Ecuador is "considering and exploring the possibility of mediation" to end Assange's asylum, adding "No solution will be achieved without international cooperation and the cooperation of the United Kingdom, which has also shown interest in seeking a way out."
The move by Ecuador comes a few months after its president Lenin Moreno warned Assange to avoid inflammatory political statements and commenting on issues involving the country's allies.
Assange spoke out in support for the Catalan separatists movement, which saw Moreno, who has been president of Ecuador since January, ask Assange to stay out of the Spanish crisis.
Assange responded to Moreno on Twitter and accused him of attempting to silence him.
'If President Moreno wants to gag my reporting of human rights abuses in Spain he should say so explicitly--together with the legal basis,' he said. -Daily Mail
Assange's legal team issued a statement Wednesday, saying "The UN ruling, issued almost two years ago, is crystal clear in its language, Mr Assange is unlawfully and arbitrarily detained by the UK authorities and must be released.
"The UK should not permit itself to be intimidated by the Trump administration's public threats to "take down" Mr Assange."
UK government officials, meanwhile, are committed to arresting Assange the moment he sets foot outside the Embassy. "The Government of Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice," said a spokesman.
The Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry walked back their threat of eviction, issuing the following statement Wednesday (translated):
With regard to this case, the national government has complied with the Constitution, international conventions and the law, acting with the prudence and caution that warrants the protection of human rights and the defense of the right of asylum.
The Foreign Ministry reiterates that in the case of citizen Julian Assange will continue to seek solutions, in strict adherence to the norms and procedures of international law, in coordination with the United Kingdom, a country with which the best relations of friendship and cooperation are maintained.
Julian Assange, at the request of the Government of Ecuador, undertook not to intervene in matters unrelated to his asylum status.
Finally, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility of Ecuador reiterates that it will not respond to rumors or distorted or decontextualized information on this case.
A brief timeline of events as previously reported:
On August 20, 2010, the Swedish Prosecutor's Office issued an arrest warrant for Julian Assange over a rape allegation - two weeks after the US Embassy met with the Pirate party and had concerns over Assange leaking US secrets. The net day, Swedish cancelled the warrant. "I don't think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape," says one of Stockholm's chief prosecutors, Eva Finne. Swedish prosecutors did however continue to investigate a separate allegation of molestation, though they felt it was not a serious enough crime for an arrest warrant.
On September 1, 2010, Swedish Director of Prosecution, Marianne Ny, reopened the rape investigation against Assange.
On November 18, 2010, Stockholm District Court approved a detention request for Mr. Assange, who had traveled to London. Two days later, Swedish police issued an international arrest warrant. On December 8, 2010, Assange is taken into British custody and taken to an extradition hearing. Eight days later, Assange posts bail and walks free in London until May 30, 2012 when the UK Supreme Court rules that he should be extradited to Sweden.
August 16, 2012, Assange begins his asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London - where he has remained for over five years.
In February, 2016, a UN panel found Assange to be detained unlawfully in the Ecuadorian embassy.
In May, 2017, Swedish authorities once again dropped their case against Julian Assange, with his Swedish lawyer Per Samuelsson told Swedish media "It is a total victory for Julian Assange," adding "He is free to leave the embassy whenever he wants."
Unfortunately, that's not going to be quite so easy for the time being - as Assange faces immediate arrest by the UK for skipping bail in his extradition hearing. Moreover, in April of this year, CNN and the Washington Post simultaneously reported that Attorney General Jeff Sessions' DOJ has prepared criminal charges against Assange over 2010 leaks of diplomatic cables and military documents.
While the DOJ seems intent on locking Assange up, the WikiLeaks founder has also received tremendous support from certain members of congress.
As we reported last week, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher travelled to London in August with journalist Charles Johnson for a meeting with Assange, where Rohrabacher said the WikiLeaks founder offered "firsthand" information proving that the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia, and which would refute the Russian hacking theory.
Rohrabacher brought that message back to Trump's Chief of Staff, John Kelly, to propose a deal. In exchange for a presidential pardon, Assange would share evidence that would refute the Russian hacking theory by proving they weren't the source of the emails, according to the WSJ.
However - when Trump was asked in late September about the Assange proposal, he responded that he'd "never heard" of it, causing Rohrabacher to unleash on John Kelly, who he blamed for blocking the proposal from reaching the President. Rohrabacher told the Daily Caller:
"I think the president's answer indicates that there is a wall around him that is being created by people who do not want to expose this fraud that there was collusion between our intelligence community and the leaders of the Democratic Party," Rohrabacher told The Daily Caller Tuesday in a phone interview.
"This would have to be a cooperative effort between his own staff and the leadership in the intelligence communities to try to prevent the president from making the decision as to whether or not he wants to take the steps necessary to expose this horrendous lie that was shoved down the American people's throats so incredibly earlier this year," Rohrabacher said.
With Assange possibly having been granted an Ecuadorian passport, it appears that perhaps the wheels are in motion for his legal extraction from their London embassy.