The legal team of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has remained in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for six years fearing extradition to the US, has told Sputnik that the representatives of the country’s government have refused to meet the whistleblower’s defenders.
According to one of his lawyers, Carlos Poveda, they requested talks in London or Madrid, but were rebuffed as “the agenda did not allow such a meeting."
He voiced concern after the recent statements by Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno, who recently confirmed during his European tour that his country is having talks with the UK authorities on Assange. The defender points out that it had been officially stated that Assange’s case wouldn’t be discussed during Moreno’s trip to Europe.
"We know that Assange's issue is somehow being considered… which leads us to confusion. We are surprised by his personal position, which shows that he has never agreed with the granting of asylum," the lawyer told Sputnik.
The recent development also outraged the whistleblower’s supporters, who shared their revolt on Twitter and in protests.
The world is watching #Ecuador to ensure Ecuador does not bow to pressure from #USA to allow Julian Assange to be handed over to USA. #JulianAssange published documents telling the public the truth & the truth showed USA up something rotten. Don't punish the truth.#WorldNews pic.twitter.com/LLRTSQ4cfm— Christina (@55krissi55) 28 июля 2018 г.
Hand delivered a letter to the Consul General at the Ecuadorian embassy in Miami in support of Julian Assange, his request for asylum, and his right to publish.#Miami #Florida #Ecuador #UK #Unity4J #FreeAssange #FreeJulian #Wikileaks #FreeSpeech #FreePress #FirstAmendment pic.twitter.com/JvFUaYN4Bg— Bruce Stanley for Florida Governor (@BruceWStanley) 28 июля 2018 г.
From the election in Kenya to the Icelandic revolution, @WikiLeaks publications empowered people in many countries, creating greater social change. Information made available has been used to bring justice in courts & address numerous human rights abuses. #Assange— nozomi hayase ⚡ (@nozomimagine) 27 июля 2018 г.
#Frankfurt joins the call out for emergency protests at U.S. Embassies if Assange's asylum is revoked. Contact https://t.co/LxsbiQlf66 to add your city to the global defence movement for JA. #BeReady4JA #workersoftheworldunite https://t.co/emT8MtZIa4 pic.twitter.com/3SURMaOtZD— Davey Heller (@socialist_davey) 27 июля 2018 г.
In Madrid, where Moreno headed after a visit to the UK, he said that "The only person I’ve never talked to is Mr. Assange," confirming that Ecuadorian authorities “are constantly talking with the British Government, with the ambassador, who is their representative in Ecuador."
Moreno also said that Assange should eventually leave the country's embassy and disapproved of Assange's activity, never agreeing with “the interventions in people's private emails in order to obtain information.”
He stressed, however, that all Ecuador wants is the guarantee that Assange’s life wouldn’t be in danger.
Later, Ecuador's National Communications Ministry issued a statement saying that “President of the Republic [of Ecuador] Lenin Moreno did not order that Julian Assange leave the Embassy of Ecuador in London at any point."
Assange took refuge at Ecuador’s Embassy in London in 2012 after he was accused of sexual offenses in Sweden during the presidency of Rafael Correa. While the charges have since been dropped, he still fears extradition to the United States, where he is wanted for leaking Iraq War logs.
Following Lenín Moreno taking the office in 2017, the leaker’s conditions have taken a turn for the worse. In March, the embassy cut off Assange's internet access, stating the 46-year-old had violated an agreement that stated he would not interfere with Ecuador's relationship with other countries.
Moreno, who referred to Assange as “more than a nuisance” and an “inherited problem,” also ordered the shutting down of special security reports that the country had spent at least $5 million on a spy operation to support and protect Assange in its embassy in London.