Julian Assange is to be expelled from Ecuador’s London embassy within hours or days, according to a “high level” source quoted by WikiLeaks.
In a tweet sent on Thursday, WikiLeaks claims the Ecuadoarian state has an agreement with the UK for his arrest.
The pavement opposite was lined with more than 20 members of the world’s media, many with TV cameras.
A protest truck in support of Assage was briefly parked on Friday morning outside the embassy emblazoned with the words ‘free speech, except war crimes’.
BREAKING: A high level source within the Ecuadorian state has told @WikiLeaks that Julian Assange will be expelled within “hours to days” using the #INAPapers offshore scandal as a pretext–and that it already has an agreement with the UK for his arrest.https://t.co/adnJph79wq
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 4, 2019
In a statement on Friday, the WikiLeaks legal team said expelling Assange would “violate international refugee law and be an attack on the U.N. which has repeatedly called for Assange to be able to walk free.”
“It will be a sad day for democracy if the UK and Ecuadorean governments are willing to act as accomplices to the Trump administration’s determination to prosecute a publisher for publishing truthful information,” said WikiLeaks.
Assange has been living inside the London-based embassy since 2012 seeking refuge after a British judge ruled that he should be extradited to Sweden for sexual assault allegations.
Sweden dropped the case in 2017 but Assange remains in the embassy following accusations of espionage.
He fears being extradited to the US to face charges over the WikiLeaks website’s release of sensitive US government files.
The US wants Assange after Wikileaks hacked documents on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
In 2010, Wikileaks released footage from the Iraq war reportedly showing footage of soldiers shooting civilians. In the same year, the UK was on the verge of extraditing Assange.
Back in 1995, Assange was let off with a fine and escaped prison for hacking attempts in Australia.
He set up Wikileaks in 2006, protecting anonymous sources with highly encrypted devices.
Ecuador last year posed new rules for Assange’s behaviour while in the embassy, which required him to pay his medical bills and clean up after his pet cat.
He challenged the rules in local and international tribunals, arguing they violated his human rights. Both courts ruled against him.
Assange didn’t step out once from the embassy during his seven year stay, for fear of arrest by British police.