Ecuador rejects claims that Assange was treated unfairly

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ecuador said Monday that it was not unfairly targeting WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange when it revoked his asylum last week.

Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Jose Valencia said that Assange’s behavior was “undeserving, disrespectful” and pointed to a video published by El Pais newspaper. The short video with no audio appears to show Assange arguing with an official inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

“An image is worth a thousand words, and there are several images,” Valencia said.

Jennifer Robinson, a lawyer representing Assange, has alleged that Ecuador’s government has spread lies about his behavior at its embassy.

Valencia spoke with The Associated Press in an interview during a five-day visit to Washington with President Lenin Moreno. Neither will be having meetings with officials from the Trump administration.

In the interview, the foreign minister said that a Swedish citizen who lived in the capital of Quito and visited Assange multiple times in London was arrested recently “because there is suspicion about his possible participation in criminal activities in Ecuador, related to information technology.”

The Swedish programmer has been identified as Ola Bini.

Valencia said the Ecuadorian government has other videos of Assange recorded by security cameras in public areas of the embassy which will be released if necessary as part of a criminal investigation.

Valencia also said that Ecuador made a “sovereign decision” when it ended Assange’s protected status after more than 6 1/2 years and opened the way for his arrest last week.

He denied any influence or pressure by the United States.

After his arrest by British authorities, the Justice Department charged Assange with taking part in a computer hacking conspiracy, accusing him of scheming with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break a password for a classified government computer.

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