Ecuador's president says Julian Assange should leave embassy soon

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks on the balcony of the Embassy of Ecuador in London

"There is a path for Mr. Assange to take the decision to exit into near freedom", Moreno said in the local radio interview, while noting that the whistleblower still faces jail time in the United Kingdom for violating bail terms when he sought asylum to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where he was wanted for questioning in a sexual assault investigation.

Many speculate they would be connected to the release of classified information, and Mr Assange fears a long prison sentence in the United States for what his supporters say is publishing information in the public interest.

Moreno underlined that Assange should not be scared that he could be transferred to a country where he could face the death penalty.

Ecuador has been looking to evict Assange from its London embassy for several months amid souring relations. The indictment suggested that the USA will seek Assange's extradition if he leaves the embassy, though the charges he faces were not known.

There is speculation that the USA interest in Assange is connected to the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 election that brought President Donald Trump to office.

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Federal criminal charges against Assange have been filed secretly in the U.S. and were accidentally leaked in a court filing for an unrelated case several weeks ago. He faces charges of espionage, conspiracy, theft of government property, and computer fraud in the United States, and Donald Trump's administration has stated that the Wikileaks founder's arrest is a top priority.

In July, Mueller charged 12 Russian spies with conspiring to hack the Democratic National Committee computers, stealing and publishing data in an effort to sway the election.

Assange sought asylum at the embassy in 2012 while facing allegations of sex crimes in Sweden.

Assange has maintained that Britain will hand him over to the U.S. Last month, a U.S. federal judge deferred action on deciding whether to reveal charges against Assange, the existence of which were accidentally made public in an unrelated case.

Moreno said he would prefer Assange hand himself over because of the cost Ecuador is paying after granting him asylum as well as for his own good.

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