Ecuador’s new president Lenin Moreno said Julian Assange is a “hacker,” making his strongest comments to date against the WikiLeaks founder while still stressing he could stay on in the country’s London embassy.
Moreno, who was sworn in earlier this month, has broken with his predecessor and mentor Rafael Correa, who had said Assange was a “journalist” and granted him asylum in London in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over rape allegations.
During the campaign, Moreno had already taken a tougher stance on Assange, warning him “not to intervene in the politics” of countries friendly to Ecuador.
“Mr. Assange is a hacker. That’s something we reject, and I personally reject,” Moreno said to journalists.
“But I respect the situation he is in, which calls for respect of his human rights, but we also ask that he respects the situation he is in.”