UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The president of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, said Britain has given him assurances that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not be handed over to a country at risk of execution.
“In line with our commitment to human rights and international law, we have asked Britain to provide assurances that Assange will not be extradited to a country where he may be tortured or sentenced to death,” Reuters quoted Moreno as saying. “The British government has confirmed its commitment in writing and in accordance with established rules.”
Britain’s deputy interior minister, Alan Duncan, said London would not extradite Assange to the United States if he faced the death penalty. “This is our initial policy in any circumstance and it applies fully to Julian Assange.”
British police arrested Assange on Thursday at the Ecuadorian embassy in London after Ecuador withdrew his political asylum against him for what he called “repeated violations of international agreements and co-existence protocol” during his stay at the Ecuadorian embassy in the British capital.
Assange went to the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012 to avoid being deported to Sweden, where he was accused of rape.
Despite the closure of his file in Sweden, Assange remains subject to a British arrest warrant for violating the terms of his suspended sentence in Britain for his case in Sweden.
After the arrest of Assange on Friday, the Swedish Public Prosecution announced that it was considering the possibility of resuming its investigation into rape, and the Swedish media quoted a spokesman for the Public Prosecutor’s Office as saying that it would announce its decision on the case later in the day.
But if London decides to deport Assange, the most likely destination is Washington, especially since the British police confirmed that Assange’s arrest today came on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by the US judiciary.
The London-based Wikileaks website said Assange’s arrest in London was a prelude to his extradition to the United States, where he is awaiting up to 35 years in prison or execution for publication in 2010. Thousands of secret documents of the US foreign and defense ministries have been republished by the world’s media.
The US Justice Department said Thursday in a statement that Assange was accused of conspiracy to try to reach Chelsea Manning, a former employee of the US military intelligence, to secret documents of the US government in 2010. The ministry added that the worst punishment may Assange face imprisonment for 5 years.
In addition to this move, Assange and his position angered Washington by leaking thousands of e-mails from John Podesta’s mail campaign manager, Hillary Clinton, ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The US authorities tried to link the Wikileaks leaks to alleged Russian interference in US elections.
Observers believe that if Assange is sent to the United States, he could become a scapegoat in the internal wars that tear apart the American political class under President Donald Trump.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for VOP from different countries around the world – edited and published by VOP staff in our newsroom.
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