Ecuador says Britain has guaranteed not to extradite Julian Assange

Julian Assange

Modal Trigger AP

Moreno said he would prefer Assange hand himself over because of the cost Ecuador is paying after granting him asylum as well as for his own good. Mr Assange fears being charged by the U.S. for his part in leaking sensitive government information.

Ecuador's president says Britain has provided sufficient guarantees for Julian Assange to leave his government's embassy in London, where the WikiLeaks founder has been living under asylum since 2012.

Assange's lawyer in Ecuador, Carlos Poveda, has told Sputnik that his client was ready to surrender to the UK authorities after receiving written guarantees from London that he would not be extradited to the United States or any other country.

"The way has been cleared for Mr Assange to take the decision to leave in near-liberty", President Lenin Moreno told reporters.

Moreno didn't say he would force Assange out, but said the activist's legal team is considering its next steps.

After having caught up in allegations of sexual harassment in 2010, Assange took asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Assange has maintained that Britain will hand him over to the U.S. Last month, a U.S. federal judge deferred action on deciding whether to reveal charges against Assange, the existence of which were accidentally made public in an unrelated case.

Assange could be questioned in the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election that brought President Donald Trump to office.

Ecuador has been seeking a way to terminate Assange s stay for several months, amid souring relations with its embassy guest, who recently sued Quito for restricting his internet access.

While the exact charges against Assange remain unclear, WikiLeaks has served as a vehicle for release of thousands of classified U.S. military and diplomatic cables. The Justice Department prepared an indictment against the WikiLeaks founder in which prosecutors inadvertently mentioned charges against him.

In November a filing error revealed that Mr Assange faced charges in the United States - although it was not clear what those charges were.

An arrest warrant by the United Kingdom government has been issued to Assange over violating bail conditions by seeking asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy.

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