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Assange aide arrested trying to leave Ecuador

Assange was arrested yesterday morning.

Julian Assange arrives at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London.
Julian Assange arrives at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

A COLLABORATOR OF WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in Ecuador while trying to flee to Japan, the South American country’s interior minister said.

Maria Paula Romo did not identify the person but told Sonorama radio he was very close to Assange, who was arrested yesterday in London on a US extradition request after spending seven years in the Ecuadorian embassy there.

Channel Teleamazonas identified him as Ola Bini, a software developer focused on privacy, security and cryptography, but did not name its source.

Earlier yesterday, the minister had linked the collaborator with alleged attempts to destabilise the government of President Lenin Moreno. 

He “has been detained simply for investigation purposes,” she said, adding he had taken foreign trips with former Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patino, who gave political asylum to Assange in 2012. 

“We have sufficient evidence that he was collaborating in attempts to destabilise the government,” she said.

Romo’s announcement followed the arrest of Assange.

British police moved in after Ecuador pulled its asylum for Assange and cancelled his citizenship, granted in 2012. 

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He had been living in the embassy, fearing arrest, but the Ecuadorian government says that Assange ”repeatedly violated” the conditions of his protection.

The US Justice Department said Assange was being charged with a computer hacking conspiracy relating to his work with former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in March 2010.

© – AFP 2019

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