Bolivian President Evo Morales has condemned the arrest and detention of Julian Assange, who he said is being “persecuted” for revealing US “human rights violations, murders of civilians and diplomatic espionage.”
“We strongly condemn the detention of Julian Assange and the violation of freedom of speech,” Morales tweeted on Thursday.
Our solidarity is with this brother who is persecuted by the US government for bringing to light its human rights violations, murders of civilians and diplomatic espionage.
The WikiLeaks founder was hauled from the Ecuadorian embassy in London by British police on Thursday morning, after nearly seven years of de-facto house arrest. Assange was found guilty of failing to appear at a 2012 bail hearing, and is also facing extradition to the United States on a charge of conspiracy to commit a cybercrime.
We strongly condemn the detention of #JulianAssange and the violation of freedom of speech. Our solidarity is with this brother who is persecuted by the US government for bringing to light its human rights violations, murders of civilians and diplomatic espionage #FreeJulianpic.twitter.com/ls3PWBMSeq
— Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) April 11, 2019
This charge relates to his publication of classified documents leaked by US Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning. One of the largest such leaks in history, the document haul included more than 251,000 diplomatic cables, and material detailing alleged US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa – whose government granted Assange asylum in 2012 – branded his more pro-US successor Lenin Moreno the “greatest traitor in Ecuadorian history” for rescinding the asylum claim and allowing British officers to enter his country’s embassy.
“This is unheard of. These actions cannot leave one not outraged,” he told RT Spanish. Correa believes that Moreno’s decision was motivated by meetings with top-level US officials, including US President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and Vice President Mike Pence, and by “vengeance,” after WikiLeaks allegedly published documents implicating Moreno in a corruption investigation. WikiLeaks denies being behind the publication.
In the UK, Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed Assange’s arrest, telling parliament that it proves “no-one is above the law,” a statement later echoed by Home Secretary Sajid Javid. Shadow Home Secretary and Labour Party MP Dianne Abbott struck a different tone, however.
READ MORE: UK Prime Minister Theresa May ‘welcomes’ news of Assange’s arrest
“This is what Julian Assange and Wikileaks are ‘guilty’ of, exposing the murderous outcome of the US military assault on Iraq,” she tweeted. “States don’t have the right to kill willy-nilly. Whistleblowers do us all a service.”
This is what Julian Assange and Wikileaks are ‘guilty’ of, exposing the murderous outcome of the US military assault on Iraq. States don’t have the right to kill willy-nilly. Whistle blowers do us all a service https://t.co/9bFhzgKf89
— Diane Abbott (@HackneyAbbott) April 11, 2019
Assange remains in custody until his sentencing on May 2. Additionally, the US Justice Department has until June 12 to present its argument for extradition to British authorities. Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, and WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson said that they intend to fight the extradition request.
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