Julian Assange’s lawyer in Ecuador, Carlos Poveda said Thursday that he was not notified of his client's asylum termination and that his arrest was due to a United States extradition request.
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"Up to now we, the defense, has not been notified of the asylum termination. We do not even have copies of the resolution," Poveda told to local media and added, "there is already an extradition order from the United States to the British government."
He explained that the U.S justice investigation on Assange is related to alleged conspiracy acts performed with Chelsea Manning, a soldier who leaked confidential information about U.S. invasions and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2010.
Nevertheless, the Ecuadorean government did have sufficient time to communicate its decisions on the Assange's situation. During an impromptu press conference held on Thursday morning, Ecuador's Foreign Minister Jose Valencia confirmed that the asylum was terminated on Wednesday.
"Ecuador's decision has been made due to Mr. Assange's repeated violation of norms established in the Inter-American conventions on diplomatic asylum,” Valencia said and added that “the granting of the effects of Ecuadorean nationality to Mr. Assange have been suspended as of yesterday per a foreign ministry resolution due to various irregularities found on its processing.”
Poveda also informed that Arrange’s arrest prevented two United Nations rapporteurs from paying a visit to his client which was scheduled for April 25.
According to local jurists, the delivery of Assange to British authorities violates basic principles related to human rights protection. International conventions oblige Ecuador to recognize the 'principle of non-refoulement,' which states that refugees or asylees cannot be returned to a territory where their life, integrity or liberty may be at risk.
"No Contracting State shall expel or return (refouler) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion,” Article 33 of the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating the Status of Refugees states.
Also on Thursday Assange's lawyer was prevented from entering the National Assembly, where the Foreign minister Valencia was expected to explain President Moreno's decision. "We are immensely concerned about the decisions of the Ecuadorian government," said Assange lawyer.