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Pro Julian Assange protesters demonstrate in front of the British Embassy in New York
Pro Julian Assange protesters demonstrate in front of the British Embassy in New York
Image: William Volcov/PA Images

'Despotic' Assange insulted staff and smeared faeces on embassy walls, Ecuadorian president claims

The 47-year-old Wikileaks founder was arrested in London last week.
Apr 17th 2019, 8:32 AM 30,210 58

THE ECUADORIAN PRESIDENT has hit out at Julian Assange’s behaviour and treatment of staff at the country’s UK embassy before his asylum was revoked last week.

The Wikileaks founder was arrested in London on 11 April after the South American country removed him from its embassy, where he had been living since 2012.

There had been speculation that Ecuador had been pressured by countries including the UK and the United States to revoke Assange’s asylum as a result of Wikileaks’ interference in elections in a number of countries.

But in an interview with BBC, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno claimed the decision was made by his country alone and followed a number of incidents of bad behaviour from the 47 year-old Australian.

Asked for the reasons why Assange’s asylum was revoked, Moreno said:

Several, from verbal insults against Ecuador, when he referred to our country as a completely insignificant country on one hand, and on the other, excuse me that I have to say this here, but even smearing his faeces on our embassy’s walls.

“I think this is sufficient reason to revoke and terminate his asylum.

“But Ecuador, like this government, has been excessively tolerant and has been able to make sure that his human rights will be protected before revoking his asylum.”

US Ecuador Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno speaks at a think tank yesterday Source: Patrick Semansky/PA Images

Moreno also claimed that Assange had acted in a “despotic” manner by attacking guards, surreptitiously installing cameras and hacking the president’s phone.

He refuted the claim that Assange is a journalist and champion of free information, saying the Wikileaks founder had violated the terms of his asylum by interfering in the politics of other countries.

“He is an informational terrorist. He does not give out the information he has, he selects them conveniently according to his ideological commitments.

“Furthermore, I repeat, he violated the norms of being an asylee, which is not intervening in country’s politics, especially friendly countries.”

Before revoking Assange’s asylum, Moreno said that he had received three letters from the British government saying the Wikileaks founder would not be extradited to a country where he would be tortured or subject to the death penalty.

“I think all Ecuadorians are relieved [Assange is gone],” he added, pointing to figures which claimed that 80% of people wanted the 47-year old removed from the embassy.

“He did not behave the way an asylee should, with respect for the country that has warmly welcomed him, sheltered him and given him food.”

Julian Assange extradition Julian Assange arrives at Westminster Magistrates' Court in London last week Source: PA Wire/PA Images

The 47-year-old Australian had sought refuge in the embassy while on bail awaiting extradition to Sweden to face charges of sexual assault and rape, which he has always denied.

He previously claimed that he feared he’d be extradited to the United States over his role in leaking thousands of classified documents as part of the biggest leak in US military history.

Assange remains in custody in London awaiting sentencing for breaching his British bail conditions in 2012.

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Stephen McDermott

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