AP NEWS

Rafael Correa, ex-Ecuadorian president, slams successor as ‘traitor’ for turning over Julian Assange

April 11, 2019

Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s former president, slammed his successor on social media for evicting WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange from the nation’s London embassy Thursday.

Mr. Correa tore into Ecuadorian President Lenn Moreno on Twitter shortly after the current administration in Quito revoked Mr. Assange’s asylum status and had him forcefully removed from the embassy by British police.

“The greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history, Lenin Moreno, allowed the British police to enter our embassy in London to arrest Assange,” Mr. Correa tweeted. “Moreno is a corrupt man, but what he has done is a crime that humanity will never forget.”

Mr. Correa, 56, served as Ecuador’s president for a decade starting in 2007. He granted asylum to Mr. Assange, 47, after the Australian native entered the embassy in 2012 seeking protection from U.S. prosecution.

Mr. Correa’s former vice president, Mr. Moreno succeeded him as Ecuador’s leader in 2017. He subsequently took a significantly harder stance on Mr. Assange and imposed new rules on his residency inside the embassy that widened a rift that culminated in the publisher’s eviction and arrest.

In a statement explaining his decision, Mr. Moreno, 66, said Ecuador withdrew Mr. Assange’s asylum status due to his “repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols.”

Mr. Assange was under house arrest when he entered the embassy, and he was found guilty following his eviction Thursday of breaching his bail conditions and faces up to a year imprisonment.

The U.S. Department of Justice separately unsealed a criminal indictment shortly after Mr. Assange’s arrest charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit computer hacker. An extradition hearing has been set for May 2.

Mr. Assange’s legal team will fight extradition efforts, his lawyer Jennifer Robinson told reporters.