Ecuadorian president says Assange tried to use embassy as base for spying

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who was arrested last week, tried to use the Ecuadorian Embassy in London as a “center for spying,” Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno told the Guardian on Monday. 

“Any attempt to destabilize is a reprehensible act for Ecuador, because we are a sovereign nation and respectful of the politics of each country,” Moreno told the Guardian by email.

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“We cannot allow our house, the house that opened its doors, to become a center for spying.”

Moreno referenced WikiLeaks’s publication of Vatican documents in January 2019 as a recent example of spying.

“It is unfortunate that there are individuals dedicated to violating the privacy of people,” Moreno said.

Assange was arrested on behalf of U.S. authorities after Ecuador revoked his political asylum, ending his nearly seven-year stay in the embassy.

The Department of Justice charged him in the release of classified information from Chelsea Manning.

Moreno also told the Guardian that he has been assured that Assange’s fundamental rights would be respected while he is behind bars and that he would not be sent anywhere to face the death penalty.

Assange's lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill on Moreno's allegations.