07:42 GMT19 February 2020
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    Former Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino Saud said the decision of Ecuador’s government to terminate Julian Assange’s asylum is “savagery” and has heavily damaged the dignity of the country, turning it into a vassal of the US.

    The former official, who is a vocal supporter of the WikiLeaks co-founder, told RT that the arrest of Assange has greatly damaged the image of Ecuador, its constitution, as well as international law as a whole.

    “This is an insult to the dignity of our country, it is lawlessness – to allow the British police to enter our embassy and pull out the person we gave asylum to. And according to our constitution and international agreements it is forbidden to extradite him, this is called the principle of non-refoulement,” Patino told RT Spanish in an exclusive interview.

    He also noted that Assange still holds Ecuadorian citizenship, even though it is currently “suspended” by the government, and the country’s laws explicitly prohibit handing over its citizens to be persecuted under foreign laws. The amount of violations is “savagery from a legal point of view,” Patino said, adding that it has clearly shown the country’s president – Lenin Moreno – surrendered to the US “as a vassal.”

    READ MORE: Ecuador's Moreno Explains Lobster Photo That Allegedly Triggered Assange Ouster

    “All that Moreno does is an attempt to completely destroy what we have built. Undoubtedly, it was planned and it was planned with CIA involvement. He is not smart enough to come up with something like this, so it is staged by the US Embassy,” he said, adding that a CIA representative is frequently present during presidential and government meetings.

    Patino was put under investigation by the Ecuadorian government earlier this week. He is accused of anti-government activities and having “links” to Swedish software developer Ola Bini. The latter was arrested in Ecuador last week on suspicion of “hacking” on WikiLeaks’ behalf.

    “I am accused of giving a speech during a meeting of our political organization,” the former minister said. “I’ve called on our supporters to accompany the people, take to the streets, to state institutions and condemn the disastrous economic and social policy of the government of Lenin Moreno in Ecuador. Therefore, because of the dissent, because I gave a speech at a meeting, they wanted to arrest me,” Patino said.

    Assange had been residing in the Ecuadorian diplomatic premises for seven years until 11 April when he was apprehended by British police after Quito revoked his political asylum status for alleged “repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols”.


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    arrest, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Ricardo Patino, Julian Assange, United States, Ecuador
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