WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012, said that he hopes that the incoming government in Ecuador will help uphold the United Nations decision that he is being arbitrarily detained inside the embassy while the U.K. is poised to arrest and deport him.
“We hope that the new government of Ecuador can renew its attempts to implement this (U.N.) decision,” Assange said during an interview with Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui on CNN.
In February 2016, the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said that since being arrested in December 2010 as part of sexual assault charges in Sweden, Assange has been arbitrarily detained by Sweden and the U.K., has been subject to a “deprivation of liberty” and should be paid compensation by both countries.
Assange has denied the charges against him, and since August 2012, he has sought asylum in the Ecuadorean embassy in the fear that if he was extradited to Sweden he would then be extradited and charged in the U.S.
If Assange was to be extradited to the U.S., he could face decades in jail for his work with WikiLeaks, which shot into the spotlight for publishing around half a million secret military files relating to Afghanistan and Iraq.
Assange thanked Ecuador for its ongoing support, which with President-elect Lenin Moreno’s victory over neoliberal banker Guillermo Lasso in the presidential election, is set to continue. Moreno, who will take over the presidency from Rafael Correa on May 24, is set to uphold Assange’s current asylum status.
Lasso, however, had promised to ask Assange to leave the embassy painting his ongoing stay as a “waste of money.”