Julian Assange, who has recently been rebuked by the Ecuadorian government, might have no other option than to leave the premises of the Ecuador embassy where he has been holed up for the last six years.
Julian Assange, whose organisation Wikileaks published the world’s biggest leaks concerning US and Western political operations, could be forced to leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Assange has been staying at the embassy since 2012, in order to avoid a possible extradition to Sweden where he has been accused of molestation.
Sweden later dropped its charges against him, but Britain has indicated that it will still go after Assange because he has violated his bail over the currently-dropped Swedish case.
Along with leaking a vast amount of classified information concerning US national security, Assange has also been accused of being used by Russians as a pawn against US interests.
Ecuador's reevaluation of Assange’s extraordinary stay in its embassy comes after a top Democrat lawmaker from the US Senate's foreign relations committee urgently demanded the Latin American country get rid of Assange in the wake of crucial US midterm elections.
Beyond US midterm concerns, Assange was also making statements about the Catalan independence referendum, which has not been a welcome development for Ecuador, a former Spanish colony. Catalonia is an autonomous region in Spain.
“Julian, a free man he is, was giving opinions about the Catalonia referendum,” recalled Ana Alban, Ecuador’s former ambassador to the UK, who had overseen his asylum request and processed in 2012.
Assange’s allegedly improper attitude in the embassy has also apparently led the Ecuador government to rethink his status.
Complaints alleged he had been riding a skateboard in the corridors of the embassy building and playing football in the office grounds. He has also been cited for bad behaviour by security personnel.
"If Mr. Assange wants to stay and he follows the rules, he can stay at the embassy as long as he wants," warned Inigo Salvador, Ecuador’s attorney general, who also exposed that Assange's housing had cost the country about $6 million.
“He knew the limitations he would have in the embassy,” Alban said in an interview with TRT World in early November. Some of Assange’s comments to the media had also been impolite given the fact that he was granted asylum by the Ecuador government, Alban said.
Assange, whose team has also been split over differences, has had to overcome many disadvantages.
Two of the world's most powerful nations, Britain and the US, want to go after him and, in addition to that, the winds of Ecuadorian politics have also been blowing against him.
The newly elected President Lenin Moreno appears to see Assange as a headache his country does not need at the moment.
“What has changed is we have another president, and his line is different from the former one,” Alban observed.
Ecuador, which granted citizenship to Assange during his stay, still wants to ensure that if Assange leaves the embassy, the UK government will not extradite him to the US or any other third country.
"The only thing that Ecuador's state has told Mr. Assange is: Your asylum problem is a problem between you and the British justice," Salvador said.
Weeks ago Alban had also mentioned the same conundrum for Assange, saying that he has two options: “find a solution with the British government or something awful can happen to him.”
Against all odds, Assange has still wanted to force his limits, by suing the very government that gave him asylum in the first place, over his new asylum conditions.
An Ecuadorian judge flatly rejected his request on Monday, saying that Ecuador is not violating any of Assange’s fundamental rights.
The Wikileaks founder’s support from friends is also reported to be waning.
“Even people who care about him do not want to be close to him,” said Alban.