Ecuador leader says Assange should leave embassy if United Kingdom gives guarantees

The Latest Trump says Manafort pardon 'not off the table'

The Latest Trump says Manafort pardon 'not off the table'

Lenin Moreno's comments in a radio interview Thursday suggest that months of quiet diplomacy between the United Kingdom and Ecuador to resolve Assange's situation is bearing fruit at a time when questions are swirling about the former Australian hacker's legal fate in the U.S.

Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said Thursday WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can leave his country's London embassy any time he wants - and the sooner the better.

Moreno said Assange did not need to fear he would be transferred to a country where he could face the death penalty: "According to the British government, they would never extradite a person to a country where his life is at risk".

In a media interview, Moreno said he had received written assurances from Britain that Assange could leave the building safely.

Though Moreno did not force Assange to leave the embassy, he stated that Assange's legal team is considering the next move.

Federal criminal charges against Assange have been filed secretly in the United States and were accidentally leaked in a court filing for an unrelated case several weeks ago. Assange's Wikileaks released a variety of USA secrets, including diplomatic cables and Central Intelligence Agency hacking tools, as well as a dump of email hacked from the Democratic National Committee in 2016.

In recent months, Ecuador has clamped down on Assange and his behavior, cutting off his Internet access in March 2018 after making political statements that Ecuador said violated his agreement for sanctuary.

Assange entered the embassy after two years of battling an extradition to Sweden to be questioned by prosecutors, who were considering whether charges should be brought against Assange for sexual assault.

Britain s the Guardian newspaper last month reported that Trump s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort held secret talks with Assange, whose organization is accused of leaking thousands of emails allegedly stolen by Russian hackers from the Democratic campaign of Hillary Clinton.

"We will protect Mr. Assange's rights - this is why we are looking for a solution, but this needs to be an agreed solution", he said.

Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012, when he was granted asylum while facing allegations of sex crimes in Sweden that he said were a guise to extradite him to the U.S.

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