Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said that his country would continue to support and provide asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been residing in Ecuador’s embassy in London for five years, as there is a threat to whistleblower’s life.
Ecuador decided to provide political asylum to Assange because it thought that his life is in danger and Assange thought the same. There is no death penalty in Ecuador, so our country has the right to grant asylum to Assange. We will continue to give him patronage for as long as we assume that his life may be in danger,” Moreno told in an interview with the RT broadcaster, released on Saturday.
The president noted that Quito urged Assange to refrain from any comments on Ecuador’s policy.
“He continued to express his opinion on this issue and we let him to do that in order to avoid restriction of freedom of speech, but we earnestly urge him to abstain from that,” Moreno added.
The investigation against Julian Assange began in Sweden in the summer of 2010 at the request of two women who accused him of rape; the whistleblower denied the allegations. Later, a Swedish law enforcement agency issued a warrant for the arrest of Assange. In 2012, he appealed to the Ecuadorian authorities for political asylum and settled at the Ecuadorian Embassy located in the fashionable district of Knightsbridge in the British capital.
On May 19, Swedish prosecutors confirmed that rape charges against Assange had been dropped following a seven-year investigation, but the UK police said it would still have to arrest Assange if he stepped out of the embassy.