LONDON: A British charity helping whistleblowers around the world on Thursday launched a legal aid fund for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, warning his expulsion from Ecuador’s embassy in London “may be imminent”, reports AFP.
The Courage Foundation said Assange’s position in the embassy, where he has been living since seeking refuge there in 2012, was “under increasingly serious threat”.Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno last month said that “the way has been cleared for Mr Assange to take the decision to leave in near-liberty”.
Moreno said Britain had guaranteed that the 47-year-old Australian would not be extradited to any country where his life would be in danger.
Ecuador has been seeking a way to terminate Assange’s stay for several months, amid souring relations with its embassy guest, who recently sued Quito for restricting his internet access.
Assange, who gained international renown by publishing huge caches of hacked State Department and Pentagon files, has repeatedly expressed fear that Britain would extradite him to the United States to face charges there.
The 251,000 classified cables from US embassies around the world—released by WikiLeaks in 2010 and published by leading international newspapers—embarrassed the Bush administration in Washington and caused ructions in its bilateral relations with other countries.