According to Business Insider, a source told the Times of London that Julian Assange faces “imminent expulsion” from the Ecuadorian embassy there. Assange, 47, has been living at the embassy since 2012 when he lost an appeal against extradition to Sweden for questioning. Assange was being sought in the wake of sexual assault and rape allegations that went to the Supreme Court.
The case against Assange was dropped in Sweden, but by that time, British authorities had issued an arrest order for the Australian, based on a breach of his bail agreement with U.K. authorities. Ecuador then granted Assange asylum inside their London-based Embassy, which protected him from arrest in the U.K. as well as from extradition to the U.S. or Sweden.
CNN reports that indictments recently issued by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller link Assange to Russian involvement in election tampering. The indictment documents heavily imply that by distributing hacked Democratic Party emails in 2016, Assange and WikiLeaks acted as a conduit for Russian intelligence.
“The conspirators (…) discussed the release of the stolen documents and the timing of those releases with Organisation 1 to heighten their impact.”
According to CNN, it has been confirmed that WikiLeaks and “Organization 1” are one and the same. and that “Guccifer 2.0”, the source from which Assange claims to have gotten his information, was a Russian cover name.
It is suspected that there may be a sealed indictment against Assange in the U.S. which is directly linked to the Russian hacking of the 2016 election. The U.S. authorities are currently in negotiations with Downing Street over how to proceed, Business Insider stated.
“Whether a sealed indictment awaits Assange in relation to the Russian hacking investigation is unknown. But according to US officials, charges have been drawn up relating to previous WikiLeaks disclosures of classified US documents.”
According to the Guardian, Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, refers to Assange as an “inherited problem.” ABC News reports that Moreno has stated that he had never approved of Assange’s activity, and expressed that the previous Ecuadorian Government considered Mr. Assange’s life was in danger. The extent of Moreno’s own concern for Assange is solely due to the fact that he could face the death penalty if extradited to the United States.
“In Ecuador there is no death penalty and we know that this possibility existed. That’s why all we want is the guarantee that his life will not be in danger.”
Over the past few months, Moreno has given orders for services to be cut off for Assange, including internet connections, computers, phones, and extra security. Ecuador’s foreign ministry said, “At the moment, due to the complexity of the topic, a short or long-term solution is not in sight.”
According to a member of Assange’s legal team, Jennifer Robinson, “For us protecting him from US extradition is absolutely paramount, and the most important and fundamental principle that must be respected.”
Sources say Assange’s health is failing. The UK Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan told parliament last month that the government was increasingly concerned about the Australian.
“It is our wish that this is brought to an end, and we would like to make the assurance that if he were to step out of the embassy, he would be treated humanely and properly. The first priority would be to look after his health, which we think is deteriorating.”