Ecuador president Lenin Moreno on Tuesday charged that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has “repeatedly violated” the terms of his asylum in the South American country’s London embassy.
“We should ensure Mr. Assange’s life is not at risk but he’s violated the agreement we have with him so many times,” Moreno said in an interview with the Ecuadorian Radio Broadcasters’ Association, according to The Guardian UK.
Moreno, hinting that Assange had committed wrongdoing, reportedly told the association that the WikiLeaks founder does not have the right to “hack private accounts or phones,” nor is he allowed to interfere in other countries’ politics, particularly those who Ecuador has strong relationships with. The 47-year-old Australian hacker has resided at Ecuador’s embassy for nearly seven years.
Moreno’s remarks come after years-old photos of him and his family were posted on social media, and while the Ecuadorian president did not specifically name Assange as the culprit behind the hack, government officials have accused WikiLeaks of leaking the photos of the Moreno’s time living in Europe.
“Mr. Assange has violated the agreement we reached with him and his legal counsel too many times,” he said. “It is not that he cannot speak and express himself freely, but he cannot lie, nor much less hack private accounts or phones.”
In a tweet Tuesday, WikiLeaks said Moreno revealed he would soon make a decision on how to address Assange’s situation.
“Ecuador”s President Lenin Moreno stated today that Assange has “violated the ‘conditions’ of his asylum” and that he will “take a decision” “in the short term” after @WikiLeaks reported on the existence of the #INAPapers offshore corruption scandal wracking his government,” WikiLeaks wrote.
Ecuador”s President Lenin Moreno stated today that Assange has “violated the ‘conditions’ of his asylum” and that he will “take a decision” “in the short term” after @WikiLeaks reported on the existence of the #INAPapers offshore corruption scandal wracking his government.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 2, 2019
The scandal referenced by WikiLeaks — known as the Ina Papers in Ecuador — alleges Moreno profited off an offshore account in Panama, one of the most well-established tax havens in the Caribbean. Moreno has said the accusations are baseless.
In a statement to The Guardian UK, Ecuador’s foreign minister José Valencia said Assange’s living conditions comply with international law and any violation of them would break the WikiLeaks founder’s asylum agreement.
Moreno did not comment on potential next steps to evict Assange from the embassy.