Julian Assange Rejects UK-Ecuador Agreement To Leave Embassy In "Near-Liberty"

A lawyer for Julian Assange has rejected an agreement reached between Ecuador and the UK for the WikiLeaks founder to leave the London embassy he has been living in for the last six years, according to The Telegraph

Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno announced this week in a radio interview that "the road is clear for Mr. Assange to take the decision to leave," referring to written assurances the UK had given him that Assange would not be extradited to face the death penalty in the United States. 

"The way has been cleared for Mr Assange to take the decision to leave in near-liberty," said Moreno, without elaborating on what that meant. 

Mr Moreno earlier this year announced that he was severing Mr Assange's telephone and internet links, and in October said he was banning him from making "political statement" that jeopardised Ecuador's relations with other countries. Mr Assange then sued for a breach of his human rights.

From December, he was also due to pay for his own costs of food, medical care and laundry, in yet another sign of the growing impatience of the Ecuadorean government.


But Mr Assange's lawyer, Barry Pollack, told The Telegraph that the deal was not acceptable.

The legal team have long argued that they will not accept any agreement which risks his being extradited to the United States. -The Telegraph

Meanwhile, despite Trump proclaiming "I love WikiLeaks" several times during the 2016 election - several US officials have called for Assange's extradition to face trial following the "Vault 7" leaks in March 2017 which contained information regarding CIA hacking tools. 

Vice President Mike Pence considered the leak equivalent to "trafficking in national security information," threatening to "use the full force of the law and resources of the United States to hold all of those to account who were involved." 

Meanwhile, eleven days after the April 2, 2017 election Moreno, then-CIA Director and current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called WikiLeaks a "hostile non-state intelligence service." Shortly thereafter, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that arresting Assange was a "priority."

Barry Pollack, Assange's lawyer, said of the recent UK-Ecuador agreement: "The suggestion that as long as the death penalty is off the table, Mr Assange need not fear persecution is obviously wrong," adding " No one should have to face criminal charges for publishing truthful information. Since such charges appear to have been brought against Mr Assange in the United States, Ecuador should continue to provide him asylum." 

WikiLeaks, meanwhile, has launched a gofundme page with the goal of raising $150,000 to defend themselves against the DNC's lawsuit against them (h/t Cassandra Fairbanks). From the campaign: 

The Democratic National Committee has billionaire backers to be able to fight the lawsuit in court for years. WikiLeaks, in contrast, is an award winning small publisher entirely funded by its readers.     

This is a David and Goliath struggle. But as history shows, you should never bet against WikiLeaks. In the twelve years since it was founded it has never lost a court case and never retracted a publication.

Help WikiLeaks stand up to the DNC and protect your fundamental rights.