The Ecuadorian embassy in London is being evacuated of staff and furniture ahead of Julian Assange being arrested this week, according to reports.
A white van was filmed removing furniture and belongings from the embassy in London on Sunday, following reports that Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno & British officials came to an agreement to evict the political prisoner from the embassy.
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British authorities are expected to deport Assange to the U.S. where attorney General Jeff Sessions has promised to lock the WikiLeaks founder “away for life.”
Thegatewaypundit.com reports: On Saturday, Glenn Greenwald reported that “the concealed, actual purpose” of Moreno’s trip is to “meet with British officials to finalize an agreement under which Ecuador will withdraw its asylum protection of Julian Assange, in place since 2012, eject him from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, and then hand over the WikiLeaks founder to British authorities.”
Any arrest or prosecution presents a severe threat to journalists covering the United States from abroad who are not protected by the First Amendment.
The WikiLeaks founder entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on June 19, 2012 and applied for political asylum, which was granted. Since that time the building has been encircled by police waiting on standby to arrest him — presumably to extradite him to the United States for the crime of practicing journalism. UK efforts to detain Assange have cost the government over $10 million to date, though no budget breakdown has been provided.
In March, under pressure from the United States, Ecuador ramped up their efforts to make life unbearable for the publisher. He is no longer allowed to use the internet, phone or have visitors. Without access to the outdoors, Ecuador has effectively left him in worse conditions than our prisoners who are in solitary confinement.
British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt confirmed on Friday that the British police are seeking to arrest Assange, though they have consistently refused to state whether or not there is an extradition order in place to send him to the United States — where he would never face a fair trial.
“On Julian Assange I will just say this: he is free to walk out the doors of Ecuadorean embassy any time he wishes. In this country that respects the rule of law, you are innocent until proven guilty. Serious charges have been laid against him and we want him to face justice for those charges but we are a country of due process. At any time he is free to walk on to the streets of Knightsbridge, and the British police will have a warm welcome for him,” Hunt said.
In February, the high court ruled in favor of hacker Lauri Love not being extradited to the US to face charges of hacking our government agencies. The lord chief justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon, was intensely critical of the conditions Love would have endured in US jails. The same is true for Assange, but yet the UK government appears to be ignoring their own precedent in this case.
In 2016, after 16 months of investigation, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) concluded that Assange is the victim of arbitrary detention. Not only did the group of lawyers and human rights professionals release an opinion that Assange should be released, they reported that he should be compensated by the governments of Sweden and the United Kingdom for “deprivation of liberty.”