According to the Intercept, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is going to be ejected from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in the next few weeks. RT even said that it could be in the next few days. At that time, Assange is expected to be handed over to British authorities.
This comes after Ecuador blocked Assange from gaining access to the internet around three months ago. Since then, no one has heard from Assange directly. The reason for the internet ban is believed to be linked to Assange taking a stance against the Spanish government in Catalonia’s separatist crisis, after which Ecuador warned Assange that “he has no reason to interfere in Ecuadorian politics because his status does not allow it,” reported the Local. The Ecuadorian President has called Julian a “hacker,” an “inherited problem,” and a “stone in the shoe.”
Julian has been at the Ecuadorian Embassy since 2012 when he was given political asylum by former President Rafael Correa. However, current President Lenin Moreno has instituted the internet ban, restricted visitors for Assange, and removed a costly $66,000-a-month security detail at the embassy. Some believe that Assange has deteriorated mentally and physically, according to the Daily Mail.
If Assange is handed over to British authorities, many believe that he would likely be extradited to the United States. Assange is likely to fight extradition attempts. Trump has already vocalized that he would prosecute him and WikiLeaks. Otherwise, Assange would continue to be imprisoned by the British, continuing an eight-year streak. During this time, he has been under lock and key although he has never been formally charged with a crime that justifies his imprisonment. The UN echoed the injustice when they stepped in and accused the embassy of “arbitrary detention.”
The Obama administration considered prosecuting Assange but decided against it since the prosecution would also include media outlets that published leaked documents, including the New York Times and the Guardian. Thus, the idea of freedom of the press appeared to be preserved for the time being.
On the other hand, the Trump administration has been clear that they are ready to prosecute Assange and possibly include media outlets. Former CIA Director Mike Pompeo even said that “we have to recognize that we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us.” Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said Julian is “engaged in terrorism.”
The British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has declared that “At any time [Assange] is free to walk on to the streets of Knightsbridge, and the British police will have a warm welcome for him.” Hunt also added that Assange would face “serious charges,” detailed the Weekend Australian.