AUSTRALIAN Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has mocked the likely loser in the Ecuadorean elections, Guillermo Lasso, over the presidential hopeful’s threat to boot Mr Assange from the country’s embassy in London.
Mr Assange took to Twitter, in Spanish and English, to invite Mr Lasso, a right-wing former banker, to leave Ecuador within 30 days.
It follows Mr Lasso’s pledge, prior to the Ecuadorean election, that he would “cordially invite Senor Assange to leave within 30 days,’’ if he won a mandate.
Mr Lasso is claiming electoral fraud after the results showed he would likely lose Sunday’s run off to Lenin Moreno, the anointed successor of the outgoing leftist president Rafael Correa, who granted Mr Assange asylum in the embassy in 2012.
Mr Assange fled to the embassy almost five years to avoid extradition to Sweden as part of rape allegations made against him in that country. He feared the extradition bid was designed to put him within reach of the Americans, who wanted him over the publication of hundreds of thousands of leaked, classified documents which detailed US military activity in the Middle East.
“I cordially invite Lasso to leave Ecuador within 30 days (with or without his tax haven millions),” he wrote on his private Twitter feed on Sunday.
“Assange yes, Lasso no,” he concluded, writing in Spanish.
I cordially invite Lasso to leave Ecuador within 30 days (with or without his tax haven millions) https://t.co/8tORJgltQl #AssangeSILassoNO pic.twitter.com/Pbf5Bf3UrL— Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) April 3, 2017
The election result seems to secure Mr Assange’s ongoing arrangement at the embassy in upscale Knightsbridge, after a rocky few months.
The Ecuadorians turned off his internet access in the lead-up to the US election after Wikileaks published emails hacked from the servers of the Democrats, which damaged Hillary Clinton’s campaign and helped elect Donald Trump.
At the time the Ecuadorians said they wanted to ensure their embassy was not being used in a manner that interfered with another country’s election.
At least one other candidate in the election had threatened to evict Mr Assange, agreeing with Mr Lasso that he had outstayed his welcome. But Mr Lasso was the only one with a credible chance of winning.
Mr Moreno too had expressed some reservations, and while promising Mr Assange could stay, added “we will always be alert and ask Mr Assange to show respect in his declarations regarding our brotherly and friendly countries.’’