Wikileaks founder Julian Assange talks on the balcony of the embassy in Ecuador, London, UK, May 19, 2017. REUTERS / Neil Hall
QUITO (Reuters) – Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said on Thursday that there was a “road” for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to leave the South American country’s London embassy, where he has lived for six years during asylum, if he so chooses.
Assange has argued that Ecuador is trying to terminate its asylum and hand him over to the United States, where prosecutors are preparing to conduct a criminal case against him. Wikileaks has released thousands of classified US military documents, including information.
“There is a way for Mr. Assange to make the decision to go in close freedom,” Moreno said in a local radio interview.
He noted that Assange is still in prison in the United Kingdom to violate the conditions when seeking asylum to avoid being handed over to Sweden, where the authorities would question him as part of a sexual abuse investigation.
The investigation was released later, but Britain says he will be arrested if he leaves the embassy.
Moreno said that the court to skip the castle would be “not long”. Britain has told Ecuador that his imprisonment period should not exceed six months and he would not face extradition if he left the embassy.
Assange insists that British authorities will hand him over to the United States.
“I do not like the presence of Assange in Ecuadorian embassy, but we have respected his human rights and in view of this we consider that six years are too long for someone to remain almost imprisoned in an embassy,” said Moreno. [1
9659010] Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Print by Luc Cohen; Editing David Gregorio