Rafael Correa, the former Ecuadorean president, told RT that Ecuador's government may eventually hand over Julian Assange, the former editor of WikiLeaks, to the United States.
The comments by Correa were published by RT Wednesday and heavily criticized the administration of Lenin Moreno for doing Washington’s bidding. His comments were made after Ecuador's Foreign Minister José Valencia said that it does not plan to intervene with the British government on behalf of Assange in talks over his situation as an asylee in the South American country's London embassy.
“I believe they are going to turn over Assange to the U.S. government,” said Correa, who was the president of Ecuador when Assange was granted asylum, calling the policy of the current Ecuadorean government “a shame.”
Assange was granted citizenship by Ecuador in 2017. Referencing that event, Correa said that the country has to protect his rights since Assange is not an asylum seeker anymore, he is a citizen and has access to all rights enshrined in the Constitution.
However, according to the former president, the current administration is acting desperate for Washington’s approval. Quito has “absolutely submitted” to Washington without earning any actual favors, said Correa.
Recently two U.S. lawmakers asked Moreno to “hand Assange over to the proper authorities,” calling him “a dangerous criminal and a threat to global security.”
Eliot Engel, a representative of New York from the Democratic party, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a representative from Florida, wrote a letter about the U.S.'s willingness “to move forward in collaborating” with Moreno’s government, hinting at enhanced economic cooperation and development aid from the country. They said, however, the only hindrance in this possible future relation is Assange according to the letter.
The lawmakers said that they were "particularly disturbed to learn that your government restored Mr. Assange’s access to the Internet."
Assange has been living in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012. In March, the country cut off his access to the internet and heavily curtailed his freedom of speech. In early October, the country partially restored his internet and mobile phone access. Assange has, however, filed a lawsuit against the government of Ecuador for violating his fundamental rights.
"They try to humiliate Assange but only humiliate themselves," Correa told RT. "These rules really go against the human rights. They are trying to isolate Assange and to push him to abandon our embassy."