May 18, 2018 / 3:41 AM / 9 days ago

Ecuador orders withdrawal of extra Assange security from embassy in London

QUITO (Reuters) - The president of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, ordered the withdrawal on Thursday of additional security assigned to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has remained for almost six years.

FILE PHOTO: Wikileaks founder Julian Assange speaks on the balcony of the Embassy of Ecuador in London, Britain, May 19, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall/File Photo

The Australian took refuge in the small diplomatic headquarters in 2012 to avoid sexual abuse charges in Sweden. He rejects the charges and prosecutors have abandoned their investigation.

However, British authorities are still seeking his arrest.

“The President of the Republic, Lenin Moreno, has ordered that any additional security at the Ecuadorian embassy in London be withdrawn immediately,” the government said in a statement. “

From now on, it will maintain normal security similar to that of other Ecuadorian embassies,” the statement said.

Ecuador suspended Assange’s communication systems in March after his pointed political comments on Twitter.

Moreno has described Assange’s situation as “a stone in his shoe.”

Reporting by Alexandra Valencia in QuitoWriting by Girish GuptaEditing by Paul Tait

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