MOSCOW, April 11. /TASS/. Ecuador has opted for terminating political asylum of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who was arrested in London on Thursday, under the US pressure among other reasons, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council foreign affairs committee, Konstantin Kosachev, told reporters.
"I think that Ecuador took that decision because it had become fatigued and frustrated, because for Ecuador, [Assange’s] longer stay at the embassy was causing nothing but problems. All the problems were piling up in the wake of powerful pressure on Ecuador, first of all from the United States," Kosachev said.
According to the senator, the pressure has nothing in common with criminal charges of the ‘Assange case’ but has purely political underpinnings.
In 2012, Assange sought asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2012 in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden, which had issued a warrant for his arrest on sexual harassment and rape charges. His worst fear was that Sweden might deport him to the United States, where he would face 35 years in prison or capital punishment for publishing classified State Department documents. Assange dismissed the accusations as politically motivated.
In March 2018, Ecuador banned Assange’s access to the Internet and his phone communication, claiming that the Australian had continued making political statements. In January, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Jose Valencia advised that Assange had better leave the country’s embassy in London.
On Thursday, Ecuador terminated the WikiLeaks founder’s political asylum. British police arrested Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy on a US extradition warrant. The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office thanked the Ecuadorian government afterwards for assistance in Assange’s arrest.