Ecuador suspends Julian Assange's citizenship

Last Updated: Apr 13 2019 16:07
Reading time: 1 min, 7 secs

QUITO- Ecuador has suspended Julian Assange's citizenship and condemned him and people connected to his WikiLeaks group of collaborating in attempts to destabilise the Andean nation's government, after years of offering him shelter.

On Thursday, a bearded and frail-looking Assange was arrested by British police after Ecuador terminated his asylum at its London embassy, where he had lived since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over a sexual assault probe.

On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Jose Valencia told reporters that Assange's Ecuadorean citizenship was suspended. 

To some, Australian-born Assange is a hero for exposing what supporters cast as an abuse of power and for championing free speech. 

To others, he is a dangerous figure who has undermined the security of the United States and has too many ties to Russia.

WikiLeaks angered Washington by publishing hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables that laid bare often highly critical U.S. appraisals of world leaders, from Russian President Vladimir Putin to members of the Saudi royal family.

Assange`s lawyer in Quito, Carlos Poveda, told reporters asylum was terminated in reprisal for corruption allegations against President Lenin Moreno and that his life will be in danger if he is extradited to the United States.

"At the time the decision to finalise his asylum was made, there was only a case in the United Kingdom for violating the conditions of his bail in 2012," Valencia told lawmakers.