WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, may have received a piece of good news this month when Swedish officials dropped their investigation into the rape allegations against him, but he may still be in trouble with the statement of Ecuador’s newly-elected leftist President Lenin Moreno. Moreno said Assange is a “hacker” but maintained that he could, however, remain in the country’s London embassy.
Moreno’s branding of Assange as a “hacker” is his strongest statement to date against the WikiLeaks founder, especially since his predecessor and mentor Rafael Correa considered Assange, in contrast, as a “journalist.” It was also Correa who granted asylum to Assange in 2012 to help him avoid extradition to Sweden for the rape allegations.
Assange has consistently denied the rape accusations. He has also been expressing more his fears lately that Sweden might extradite him instead to the U.S. to face prosecution over WikiLeaks’ publication of thousands of classified documents including military and diplomatic ones in what is considered as one of the largest information leaks in U.S. history.
Moreno told journalists on Monday: “Mr. Assange is a hacker. That is something we reject, and I personally reject.” He added, though: “But I respect the situation he is in, which calls for respect of his human rights, but we also ask that he respects the situation he is in.”
During the campaign, Moreno sternly warned Assange not to intervene in the politics of countries friendly to Ecuador.