"There has been a rapprochement between the United Kingdom, the United States and Ecuador. I believe that [Washington, London and Quito] have reached some agreement and that is exactly why the special protocol [on home rules] was introduced, which is to justify Julian’s withdrawal [from the embassy], to accelerate the process of ending his asylum and hand him over to the UK authorities," Poveda said on Thursday.
The lawyer suggested that Washington planned to impose a "grave" charge on Assange.
"It will not be a death penalty but he may get a life sentence," Poveda pointed out.
The lawyer's statement follows US media reports that Washington was preparing to prosecute the WikiLeaks founder and was confident it would be able to have him extradited to the United States.
Assange has been residing in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012 when he fled there to avoid prosecution by the Swedish authorities in a sex assault case. The sex offence charges against Assange have eventually been dropped but the whistleblower has not left the diplomatic mission, where he was granted asylum, over fears that he might be seized by the UK authorities and extradited to the United States where he is wanted for leaking classified documents.
In October, media revealed that the embassy introduced home rules that Assange should follow, that included restrictions on the whistleblower’s communications and visits. Assange’s defence team subsequently sued Ecuador over the conditions of his stay in the embassy, which, according to them, violate the WikiLeaks founder’s rights.