An Ecuador court has ordered the release of a Swedish national with ties to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, announcing his detention as “arbitrary”.
As Judge Patricio Vaca said in the ruling ordering his immediate release: “There was effectively a violation to (Bini's) right to freedom,” and his detention was “illegitimate and arbitrary.”
The Swede, who has lived in Ecuador for five years, thanked judges and the Ecuadorian people as he walked free from jail late on Thursday night.
“Today we have shown my innocence for the first time and we will continue to demonstrate my innocence,” Bini told reporters after being released.
More video as Ola Bini is released from the jail: pic.twitter.com/xAYFbuvA2k— #WarOnJournalism (@jaraparilla) June 21, 2019
The expert on secure communications will be required by court to periodically appear before authorities, as he is also banned from leaving the country while investigations into his alleged hacking attacks continue. US investigators have received permission from Ecuador to question Bini and are reportedly expected to speak with him on 27 June, writes AP.
Swedish software developer Ola Bini was arrested at Quito airport on 11 April, the same day that Ecuador evicted Julian Assange from its London embassy, as the Swedish citizen prepared to board a flight to Japan. Ecuadorian officials alleged he was involved in a plot conceived by two hackers based in Ecuador to release compromising files on Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno.
Bini, who worked at the Quito-based Center for Digital Autonomy, an organisation focusing on cybersecurity and data privacy, is reported to have travelled to meet Assange a number of times at Ecuador's London embassy.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange claimed asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012, citing fears he would be extradited to the US.
However, after the Ecuadorian authorities revoked his asylum, Assange was forcefully removed from the embassy on 11 April and subsequently arrested.
He is currently serving a 50-week sentence in London's Belmarsh Prison for skipping bail. UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed a formal request to extradite Assange to the US last week, prompting international outcry.
Assange could face 175 years in prison under US charges of violating the Espionage Act.