AP NEWS

Assange won’t face death penalty if extradited: Ecuador president

April 11, 2019

Ecuadoran President Lenin Moreno on Thursday defended his decision to lift the protections that prevented British police from arresting Julian Assange, but said in a video that he had also received assurances in writing from the U.K. government that the WikiLeaks founder would not be extradited to a country where he might face torture or the death penalty.

Mr. Moreno said Ecuador had respected all its international obligations in the seven years it had allowed asylum to Mr. Assange in its London embassy, but said the Australian-born Mr. Assange had repeatedly violated the terms of his stay, retaining his links to the global internet organization and intervening in the internal affairs of countries such as Venezuela and Cuba.

“Mr. Assange repeatedly violated clear-cut provisions of the conventions of diplomatic asylum,” Mr. Moreno said in a three-minute video released Thursday morning.

But the president added that Quito had imposed conditions on the government of Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May in negotiating the release of Mr. Assange.

“I asked Great Britain to guarantee that Mr. Assange not be extradited to a country where he could face torture or the death penalty,” he said. “The British government has confirmed it in writing, in accordance with its own rules.”

It was not immediately clear whether the conditions of the release would complicate U.S. efforts to extradite Mr. Assange to face crimes for WikiLeaks’ role in releasing classified U.S. national security data.