Ecuador's president gives bizarre reason for revoking Julian Assange's asylum
In an interview with BBC on Wednesday, Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno didn't mince his words when asked why his administration withdrew WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's asylum in Ecuador's embassy in London.
In addition to accusing Assange of trying to use the consulate as a center for spying, Moreno said the polarizing Australian computer programmer repeatedly insulted Ecuador and desecrated the embassy with his own feces.
"From verbal insults against Ecuador when he referred to our country as a completely insignificant country on one hand, and on the other, excuse me that I have to say this here, but even smearing his feces on our embassy's walls, I think this is sufficient reason to revoke and terminate his asylum," Moreno said.
The president further revealed that Assange treated the embassy's staff horribly, claiming that he attacked some of the guards in a "despotic way." Assange also allegedly publicized private photos of the president and his family.
"He is a cyber-terrorist," Moreno said. "He does not give out the information he has. He selects them conveniently and according to his ideological commitments."
Assange stayed at the Ecuadorian embassy for seven years after the United Kingdom's Supreme Court denied his extradition appeal in 2012. He had been wanted by Swedish authorities in connection with sexual assault charges. At the time, Assange feared that he would also later be extradited to the United States, where he would have to answer for his organization's decision to release thousands of sensitive diplomatic cables. He was finally arrested on April 11.
In his interview with BBC, Moreno insisted that the British and American governments did not pressure him to cancel Assange's asylum and that the decision was his government's only.
"I think all Ecuadorians are relieved," Moreno said.