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Ecuador revokes Assange’s citizenship as Wikileaks asks public for help

Ecuador ruled to revoke the citizenship of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, the South American country’s judicial branch announced on Monday.

The Ecuadorian court revealed that Assange would no longer carry status as a naturalized citizen of the country due to issues with his application, according to CNN. The decision comes after years of strained relations between the Wikileaks founder and the Ecuadorian Embassy in London that gave him asylum from foreign prosecution.

Assange, a native Australian, is being held in the United Kingdom after charges were brought against him by the United States government, alleging that he assisted Chelsea Manning in attempts to hack into Defense Department computer networks and publish confidential military information in 2010.

For approximately seven years, Assange was protected from extradition by Ecuador’s embassy, and he even received his citizenship in 2018, according to the BBC.

Ecuadorian officials claim Assange mistreated staff and acted destructively, saying that he rode scooters down the halls of the embassy and smeared feces on the walls. They also disapproved of his continued work with Wikileaks and his political activism, fearing that his stances could damage relations with other nations.

In April 2019, tensions boiled over, and the South American country rescinded Assange’s asylum, handing him over to British authorities, according to CNN. At the time of his arrest, Ecuador announced that his naturalization was “suspended” without a definite decision to cut ties with the Wikileaks founder until now.

Assange’s lawyer, Carlos Poveda, announced his intentions to appeal the ruling, saying, “More than the importance of nationality, it is a matter of respecting rights and following due process in withdrawing nationality,” according to the Guardian.

Following the ruling, Wikileaks published a short message on social media on Wednesday asking readers to “donate to Julian Assange’s High Court fight against extradition.”

The post linked to a crowd-funding page set up by his partner, Stella Moris. The fundraiser has raised approximately $156,000, per the site.

The U.S. is appealing a lower British court’s ruling that Assange cannot be extradited to stand trial, and he has been denied bail. He has been charged under the 1917 Espionage Act, as well as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. If found guilty on all the charges, Assange faces up to 175 years in prison, though the U.S. has said it would likely only be four to six years.

|The Examiner

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