Mr Moreno said today that Mr Assange still faces jail time in Britain for violating bail terms when he sought sanctuary to avoid extradition to Sweden so authorities could quiz him as part of a sexual assault investigation. The investigation was later dropped, but the UK Government said he will be arrested if he leaves the embassy. However, should he choose to leave, a “path” has been made available to him with conditions having been met, the leader said. He said: “There is a path for Mr. Assange to take the decision to exit into near freedom.”
He also commented on the extraordinary length of time Mr Assange has been living in the embassy.
Mr Moreno said: “I do not like the presence of Mr. Assange in the Ecuadorean embassy, but we have been respectful of his human rights and with that respect in mind we think that six years is too long for someone to remain nearly incarcerated in an embassy.”
Mr Assange has claimed that Ecuador is seeking to end his asylum and hand him over to the US, where prosecutors are preparing to pursue a criminal case against him after Wikileaks released thousands of classified military documents from the nation.
President Moreno said the sentence for skipping bail would be “not long.”
The UK has told Ecuador that his jail time would not exceed six months and that he would not face extradition if he left the embassy.
But Mr Assange insists British authorities will hand him over to the US. Mr Assange fears being charged by the US for his part in leaking sensitive government information.
In March, he accused the embassy of violating his “fundamental rights and freedoms” by restricting his internet access.
Mr Assange founded WikiLeaks in 2006.
During the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primaries, WikiLeaks hosted emails sent or received by candidate Hillary Clinton from her private email server when she was Secretary of State.
The Democratic Party claimed Russian intelligence hacked her emails and leaked them to WikiLeaks.
Mr Assange has denied any connection to Russia.