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Report: Julian Assange Could Be Out of Ecuador Embassy 'Any Day Now'

Report: Julian Assange Could Be Out of Ecuador Embassy 'Any Day Now'

By    |   Thursday, 24 May 2018 10:40 PM

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could leave the Embassy of Ecuador in London, where he has taken refuge for nearly six years, "any day now" because he could be forced out by Ecuadorian officials, CNN reported Thursday.

Assange, 46, could also be made "to feel so restricted that he might choose to leave on his own," according to the cable network.

In addition, his status at the embassy is "in jeopardy," a source familiar with the matter told the cable network, and other sources said Assange's situation is "unusually bad."

If he left, Assange could face arrest by British authorities and potential extradition to the U.S. over his role in the eventual publishing of hacked emails from Democrat Hillary Clinton and other party operatives during the 2016 election.

U.S. officials prepared charges seeking Assange's arrest in April 2017.

Justice Department officials believe Russia used Assange as an intermediary to distribute the stolen emails.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said then that arresting Assange is a "priority."

"We've already begun to step up our efforts — and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail," Sessions said at a news conference in El Paso, Texas.

Assange and his attorneys told CNN he has been detained without charge for 2,720 days, including 53 where he has been "gagged" and isolated from visitors and outside communications.

His lawyer, Melinda Taylor, said: "The concern from day one until the present is that if Julian Assange walks out of the embassy, he will be extradited to face what the executive director of the ACLU described as an 'unprecedented and unconstitutional' prosecution under the U.S. Espionage Act."

Ecuador's new president, Len�n Moreno, is also under growing U.S. pressure to expel Assange, sources told the cable network.

In a January television interview, Moreno described Assange as an "inherited problem" and "more than a nuisance."

Spain also might be pushing Ecuador after Assange tweeted support for separatist movements in Catalonia, a northeast region of Spain seeking independence, CNN reported.

Assange's lawyers said the Ecuadorian government recently cut off his access to the Internet, severely hampering his efforts to manage WikiLeaks.

He can only see his lawyers — and they told CNN that their mobile phones are jammed while they are inside the embassy.

Assange also faces multiple lawsuits.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador declined to comment on Assange's case, while U.S. government representatives either declined to comment or did not respond to requests, CNN reported.

"Mr. Assange's presence in the Ecuadorian Embassy is a matter between the U.K. and Ecuador," one State Department official told the network. "As a matter of policy, the Department of State neither confirms nor denies the U.S. government's intention to request extraditions."

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Because he could be forced out by Ecuadorian officials, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could leave the Embassy of Ecuador in London "any day now," according to CNN on Thursday.
wikileaks, julian assange, email hacks, no collusion, ecuador, extradition
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2018-40-24
Thursday, 24 May 2018 10:40 PM
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