Ecuadorian Court Greenlights Withdrawing Citizenship From Assange
© AP Photo / TOLGA AKMENWikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrives at court in London on May 1, 2019 to be sentenced for bail violation
© AP Photo / TOLGA AKMEN
In 2019, Ecuador suspended the citizenship of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, after years of offering him shelter amid accusations of espionage that he faces from the United States after WikiLeaks published thousands of classified American military records.
An Ecuadorian judge last week declared a nullity of the nationalization of the founder of the WikiLeaks leak site, Julian Assange, formally notifying the defense on Monday, Carlos Poveda, Assange's lawyer, revealed.
"The judges of the Contentious Administrative Court accepted the criteria of the Foreign Ministry and declared the nullity of the naturalization letter that had been granted to Julian Assange. The notification reached us today [on Monday]", Poveda said.
The decision can still be challenged through so-called horizontal appeals, which would have to be attended by Assange's lawyer.
The founder of WikiLeaks received Ecuadorian citizenship in 2017 after he was offered shelter in the country's embassy in London, where he had lived since 2012 to avoid being extradited to Sweden over sexual assault allegations.
However, in 2019, Ecuador decided to withdraw both the asylum and the citizenship.
The Contentious Administrative Court agreed with the withdrawal of the nationalization based on a report from the National Comptroller's Office that claimed that legal procedures for granting citizenship were breached.
According to Poveda, the actions of the Contentious Administrative Court are "purely political" and are based on allegations, with none of the accusations being backed with proof.
"From the first hearing we have said that Julian was not summoned legally, the documents must be translated because his language is English and that was not respected in all documents [...]", Poveda said.
The attorney also said that, despite he asked for Assange to be present at the hearing via telecommunication, he only received a link to connect - which, according to Poveda, is "illogical", since Assange does not have a computer or Internet access.
The founder of WikiLeaks faces accusations of espionage from the US after he leaked thousands of classified military documents, with Washington seeking his extradition. He was arrested in London in April 2019 after Ecuador terminated his asylum. Since that time, Assange has been held in a top security prison in Belmarsh since 2019 pending his appeal hearing in the extradition trial.