The Ecuadorian government has removed its ambassador to the UK, sparking speculation over Julian Assange’s future at the diplomatic mission there.
The 47-year-old founder of WikiLeaks moved into the Ecuadorian Embassy in central London in 2012 while wanted for questioning over sexual assault allegations in Sweden. Assange maintained his innocence and claimed the charges were nothing more than an attempt to extradite him to the United States.
Ambassador Carlos Abad Ortiz was forced to leave his post, according to an executive decree signed by Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno and published Wednesday. The envoy had been in charge of the diplomatic mission since 2015 and had been an influential figure regarding Assange’s future.
Earlier this month the US government inadvertently revealed that Assange has been secretly charged. The specific nature of the charge or charges remains unknown.
Ecuador’s president has signed a decree terminating the ambassador to the United Kingdom, Carlos Abad. All diplomats known to Assange have now been terminated to transferred away from the embassy.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) November 22, 2018
BREAKING: Ecuador’s government has refused Julian Assange’s lawyers [UK lawyer @suigenerisjen & Spanish lawyer Aitor Martínez] access to him this weekend (although the embassy is manned 24/7) to prepare for his US court hearing on Tuesday.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) November 24, 2018