QUITO – The government of Ecuador warned Australian Julian Assange, who has been given asylum at the Ecuador Embassy in London since 2012, once again on Friday that he must abide by the laws and maintain respect for the country.
“No person under the jurisdiction of Ecuador is above the law,” said the Foreign Affairs Ministry in an official statement in which it clarified that it would continue to provide asylum to the Australian whistleblower, who also holds Ecuadorian nationality.
The ministry rejected in its statement all claims of the alleged imminent termination of Assange’s diplomatic asylum and the alleged agreement with the United kingdom to imprison him, as did Foreign Minister Jose Valencia on twitter, calling the allegations “unfounded rumors that are also insulting.”
“The Ecuadorian State reiterates once again that it will apply in the case of Assange the relevant provisions of international law” on asylum, but noted that the regulation also requires “obligations to abide by and respect for which shall be demanded at all times,” the statement said.
In addition, Valencia had also tweeted that “diplomatic asylum is a sovereign authority of a State, which has the right to grant it or withdraw it unilaterally when it deems it justified.”
“By issuing information that distorts the truth, the political refugee and his associates once again express ingratitude and disrespect towards Ecuador, instead of showing gratitude to the country that has hosted him for almost seven years,” the ministry statement added.
It also recalled that Ecuador has incurred expenses for Assange’s stay at its Embassy in London which has endured his rudeness and the fact that Assange sued the country for adopting a protocol of coexistence which was aimed at preventing him from repeating his acts of misbehavior in future.
The ministry also said that the source of the rumors could be that the Ecuadorian National Assembly has decided to investigate Assange’s role in the leaking of President Lenin Moreno’s private documents on alleged acts of corruption.
On April 4 WikiLeaks tweeted that “a high level source within the Ecuadorian state has told @WikiLeaks that Julian Assange will be expelled within ‘hours to days’ using the #INAPapers offshore scandal as a pretext--and that it already has an agreement with the UK for his arrest.”
Some of Assange’s supporters gathered outside the Embassy holding banners demanding he be allowed to leave without fear of being detained.
The Australian took refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden which had demanded he be handed over to question him over a rape allegation.
In 2010, WikiLeaks disclosed more than 90,000 classified documents related to the actions of the United States military in Afghanistan and about 400,000 secret documents about the Iraq war.
That same year it began to leak some 250,000 diplomatic cables from the US Department of State which caused global embarrassment to Washington.
Assange fears that if he left the Ecuadorian Embassy and was arrested, UK authorities would extradite him to the US where he could face charges of espionage that could carry life imprisonment.