Julian Assange, the Australian journalist who founded WikiLeaks, was arrested on Thursday, April 11, at the Ecuadorian embassy in London where he was held up in asylum since 2012.
Hours after, the U.S. Justice Department announced Assange had been formally charged by U.S. prosecutors for a single count of “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified U.S. government computer”.
U.S. prosecutors filed conspiracy charges against Assange for trying to access a U.S. government computers containing classified information in 2010, along with former military intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.
Assange was dragged away from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He now faces possible extradition to the U.S.
In a televised statement, Ecuador’s president Lenín Moreno blasted Assange for being ‘discourteous and aggressive” and that Assange “violated” international law during his stay.
Moreno said: “Ecuador is a generous country and a nation with open arms. Ours is a government respectful of the principles of international law, and of the institution of the right of asylum. Getting or withdrawing asylum is a sovereign right of the Ecuadorian state, according to international law.”
“Today, I announce that the discourteous and aggressive behavior of Mr. Julian Assange, the hostile and threatening declarations of its allied organization, against Ecuador, and especially the transgression of international treaties, have led the situation to a point where the asylum of Mr Assange is unsustainable and no longer viable.”
Moreno added that for six years and 10 months “the Ecuadorian people have protected the human rights of Mr Asaange and fulfilled its obligations in the framework of international law. On the other hand, Mr Assange violated repeatedly, clear cut provisions of the conventions on diplomatic asylum of Havana and Caracas; despite the fact that he was requested on several occasions to respect and abide by these rules.”
“He particularly violated the norm of not intervening in the international affairs of other states,” Moreno stressed. “The most recent incident occurred in January 2019 when Wikileaks leaked Vatican documents,” said the Ecuadorian president.
Assange was given invited to take refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in London by Rafael Correa, who served as President of Ecuador from 2007 to 2017.
Following the arrest of Assange, Correa went public to denounce the decision of President Lenin Moreno, who served as Correa’s vice-president from 2007 to 2013, saying Assange was expelled from the Ecuadorian Embassy for exposing Moreno’s corruption in the #INAPapers.
Julian Assange was expelled from the Ecuadorian Embassy for exposing Pres. Lenin Moreno’s corruption in the #INAPapers
Moreno’s secret account (money laundering):
Balboa Bank Panamá. pic.twitter.com/ntDNUh5vcv
— Rafael Correa (@MashiRafael) April 11, 2019
In the Tweet, Correa published Moreno’s secret account in Panama for money laundering.
Correa also called out Moreno for allowing London police to enter the embassy, “it’s like if Ecuador police were to enter the U.S. Embassy”.
If convicted, Assange faces up to five years in prison.