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  • Supporters of the WikiLeaks founder protested the arrest outside of a London court house.

    Supporters of the WikiLeaks founder protested the arrest outside of a London court house. | Photo: Reuters

Published 15 April 2019

Letters made public by Ecuador's government, dated 2018, and signed by U.K. Foreign Minister, Jeremy Hunt, and his predecessor Boris Johnson, explain that under British law, extradition cannot be ordered if the person in question is subject to the death penalty.

Ecuador’s government issued an official statement showing two letters from United Kingdom officials addressed to President Lenin Moreno, assuring the head of state that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange would not be extradited to a country where he could face the death penalty.

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The two letters made public are dated March 7 and August 10, 2018, signed by U.K. Foreign Minister, Jeremy Hunt, and his predecessor Boris Johnson, on which both explain that under British law, extradition cannot be ordered if the person in question is subject to the death penalty in the country requesting such process. 

"When an extradition request is received from a country where the offense carries the death penalty, U.K. law requires that extradition cannot be ordered unless the Home Secretary has first received an adequate assurance from that country that the death penalty will not be imposed or carried out," added MP Hunt on his letter. 

The British Government, through three diplomatic letters, confirmed in writing to President Lenin Moreno, that the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, would not be extradited to a country where he could suffer the death penalty.

A third communique, dated April 3, 2019, from the U.K. embassy in Ecuador reiterates this fact, adding that British law incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which also prohibits torture, inhuman and degrading treatment. 

This comes after Assange seven-year asylum was abruptly removed and he was arrested by British police on April 11. Immediately the U.S. charged him with  "computer hacking conspiracy", over an allegation he conspired with former army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break into a classified government computer. Sweden is also expected to decide whether to reopen an investigation into the rape and sexual assault allegations against him, which was previously dismissed.

Now his defense is fighting the request for extradition, even though Ecuadorean officials have assured this will not happen. 

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