Ecuador Says WikiLeaks Founder Can Leave Embassy In UK If He Wants

Ecuador Says WikiLeaks Founder Can Leave Embassy In UK If He Wants

Assange, who gained global renown by publishing huge caches of hacked State Department and Pentagon files, has repeatedly expressed fear that Britain would extradite him to the United States to face charges there.

Ecuador said that the United Kingdom has given such a guarantee, but Moreno said he needs clarification on the British position.

MailOnline has contacted the Home Office for comment.

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

WikiLeaks' role in releasing emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee in 2016 has also been under scrutiny as special counsel Robert Mueller has investigated Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the campaign of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump was involved.

WikiLeaks has released thousands of classified U.S. military documents, among other disclosures, including thousands of emails that were hacked from Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

Last month, an inadvertent court filing in a case unrelated to Assange revealed that he has been charged in secret.

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The WikiLeaks founder has been living under asylum at the embassy since 2012.

Moreno, however, said Britain had guaranteed that the 47-year-old Australian would not be extradited to any country where his life would be in danger.

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.

But he said Ecuador was not about to throw Assange out.

Mr Moreno said today that Mr Assange still faces jail time in Britain for violating bail terms when he sought sanctuary to avoid extradition to Sweden so authorities could quiz him as part of a sexual assault investigation.

"The road is clear for Mr Assange to take the decision to leave", Moreno said in a radio interview overnight, referring to written assurances he said he had received from Britain. He faces charges of espionage, conspiracy, theft of government property, and computer fraud in the United States, and Donald Trump's administration has stated that the Wikileaks founder's arrest is a top priority.

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