Britain promises not to extradite Julian Assange

Britain promises not to extradite Julian Assange

The 251,000 classified cables from USA embassies around the world - released by WikiLeaks in 2010 and published by leading global newspapers - embarrassed the Bush administration in Washington and caused ructions in its bilateral relations with other countries.

Ecuador has grown frustrated with his stay, and President Lenin Moreno on Thursday said he was "not happy" with Assange's presence at the embassy.

Assange had whined that Ecuador was seeking to end his asylum and hand him over to the U.S., where prosecutors were preparing t a criminal case against him.

Moreno said he would prefer Assange hand himself over because of the cost Ecuador is paying after granting him asylum as well as for his own good. The investigation was later dropped, but the UK Government said he will be arrested if he leaves the embassy.

Lenin Moreno's comments suggest that months of quiet diplomacy between the United Kingdom and Ecuador to resolve Assange's situation is bearing fruit at a time when questions are swirling about the former Australian hacker's legal fate in the US.

Moreno said the sentence for skipping bail would be "not long".

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Assange took refuge in the Ecuadoran embassy in London in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face questioning in two alleged cases of sexual assault.

In November, WikiLeaks suggested that the United States authorities might have brought sealed charges against Assange, citing a filing in an unrelated case that used Assange's name in an "apparent cut-and-paste error".

But his relations with his hosts have soured to the point that Moreno earlier this year cut off his access to the internet, purportedly for violating the terms of his asylum by speaking out on political matters.

Assange responded by suing Ecuador, accusing it of violating his "fundamental rights and freedoms".

But nothing is preventing it from extraditing him to the USA if prosecutors there were to pledge not to seek the death penalty. Assange fears he could face the death penalty for his role in the US for leaking classified information.

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