Ecuador accuses Julian Assange of trying to ‘destabilise’ the country

Ecuador withdraws Julian Assange’s citizenship and accuses him of trying to ‘destabilise’ the country

  • President Lenin Moreno was angered when private photos began to circulate 
  • Claimed two Russian hackers close to Julian Assange are living in Ecuador 
  • Also said high level WikiLeaks member worked with their former foreign minister

Ecuador has suspended Julian Assange’s citizenship and accused him and WikiLeaks members of collaborating in attempts to destabilize the country’s government.

After seven years spent in the Andean nation’s London embassy avoiding extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault allegation, a bearded and frail-looking Assange was arrested by British police earlier today.   

He was offered refuge in 2012 by Ecuador’s then-president Rafael Correa, but his relationship with Ecuador has soured under Correa’s successor Lenin Moreno, who has said Assange violated the terms of his asylum.

Moreno was angered after years-old private photographs of him and his family taken when they lived in Europe circulated on social media. His government said it believed the photos were shared by WikiLeaks.

Assange and WikiLeaks have intervened in Ecuadorean affairs and people close to him, including two Russian hackers, are living in Ecuador, Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo told reporters in Quito. 

Ecuador has claimed that a high-level member of WikiLeaks is living in Ecuador and worked with former foreign minister Richard Patino, pictured with Assange in 2014

Ecuador has suspended Julian Assange’s citizenship and accused him and WikiLeaks members of collaborating in attempts to destabilize the country’s government. Pictured: his arrest earlier today

‘The interferences in matters of other states also includes the interference of Mr. Assange and his allied organization in internal political matters in Ecuador,’ Romo said.

The third person living in Ecuador is a high-level member of WikiLeaks and is connected to former Ecuadorean foreign minister Ricardo Patino, who was serving under Correa when Assange was granted asylum, Romo said.

‘We have evidence that they have collaborated in attempts to destabilize the government and that they work closely with and have traveled with Ricardo Patino,’ Romo said.

Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo, pictured, told reporters in Quito that Assange and WikiLeaks have intervened in Ecuadorean affairs

Assange was offered refuge in 2012 by Ecuador’s then-president Rafael Correa, but his relationship with Ecuador has soured under Correa’s successor Lenin Moreno (pictured) 

Patino traveled with the person to Peru, Spain and Venezuela, she said. Patino denied the allegations.

Romo ‘just invented a story about a supposed relationship of mine with Russian hackers,’ Patino said on Twitter. ‘The only thing left is for her to say where we left Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty.’

To some, Australian-born Assange is a hero for exposing what supporters cast as abuse of power and for championing free speech. 

To others, he is a dangerous figure who has undermined the security of the United States and has too many ties to Russia.

WikiLeaks angered Washington by publishing hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables that laid bare often highly critical U.S. appraisals of world leaders, from Russian President Vladimir Putin to members of the Saudi royal family.

Assange’s lawyer in Quito, Carlos Poveda, told reporters asylum was terminated in reprisal for corruption allegations against Moreno and that his life will be in danger if he is extradited to the United States.  

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