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  • Demonstrators protest expulsion of Julian Assange from Ecuador's embassy in London. April 6, 2019

    Demonstrators protest expulsion of Julian Assange from Ecuador's embassy in London. April 6, 2019 | Photo: Reuters

Published 7 April 2019

UN Human Rights rapporteur Joe Cannataci reveals he was denied an April 3 meeting with Assange, and will finally be allowed to meet with the isolated asylumist April 25. 

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, Joe Cannataci, is set to meet with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange April 25 within Ecuador’s UK embassy in London. The meeting was set up “to help determine if there exists a prima facie case of violation of privacy (of Assange) that warrants further investigation,” says the UN Human Rights of of the High Commission (UNCHR).

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 INA Papers: The Corruption Case Against Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno

The visit occurs within the framework of the Ecuadorian president's complaint about the alleged authorship of WikiLeaks in the filtering of personal documents.

In a communique released by Cannataci “in order to maximise transparency and minimise speculation” the UN rapporteur recounted his continual communications with the Ecuadorean government from March 29 until April 3 when he was given permission to visit Assange April 25.

The WikiLeaks founder and former director, was granted political asylum inside Ecuador’s embassy in London by former president Rafael Correa in June 2012. However, he has been increasingly isolated from communicating with the outside world by Ecuador’s current administration under Lenin Moreno who is being investigated by the nation’s national assembly on several alleged counts of corruption, perjury and money laundering.

Cannataci’s statement shows that he tried several times to make an April 3 appointment to see Assange via the Ecuadorean embassy, following Ecuador’s strict protocol in order to see Assange in person. In certain instances, Ecuador’s ambassador in London, H.E. Jaime Rachan Romero neglected to correspond with Cannataci, delaying his potential visit.

On April 2 the UNCHR rapporteur received a message from Rachan about his requested April 3 visit: "As you are aware, the Government of Ecuador has extended an open invitation to all special rapporteurs of the UN System to visit Ecuador. In such context, your request is being considered and you will soon receive a formal note from our Permanent Mission in Geneva regarding the necessary coordination prior to your visit. For this reason, I recommend you not to get the air ticket to visit London tomorrow," wrote the ambassador.

Cannataci was finally able to gain access to Assange for three weeks later, on April 25.

Last Tuesday President Moreno accused Assange of “repeatedly violating” the terms of his asylum in the country’s London embassy.

The statement was made following the release of the INA Papers, a leaked publication that includes private conversations and photographs of the president and his family and links the unpopular head of state to an offshore company that allegedly received millions in dollars in illicit business deals. As a result, Moreno is now facing a corruption probe by Ecuador’s federal legislators.

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UN Torture Expert Urges Ecuador Not to Expel Assange

WikiLeaks officials argues the INA Papers publication is being twisted and used against Julian Assange as an excuse to expel him from the embassy, leading to a possible extradition to the United States over accusations that he and the online publication released large amounts of hacked State Department and Pentagon files in 2010.

Wikileaks says the organization never published press releases or images of President Lenin Moreno's private life. The page issued a single tweet on March 25, 2019 reporting there was a "corruption investigation opened against Ecuador's President Moreno after purported leaked contents of his iPhone (Whatsapp, Telegram) and Gmail were published."

The founder of WikiLeaks could be expelled in "hours or days," the Ecuadorean embassy in London wrote via Twitter April 4, a statement the same authorities later redacted.

WikiLeaks asserts that there is an agreement between the government of Ecuador and the British authorities to arrest Assange if he is expelled from the embassy.

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