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US authorities have won their latest bid to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Ecuador’s supreme court rejected his appeal against a court order forcing him to either hand himself over to US authorities or be removed from his country.
Manuel Antonio Quevedo, Ecuador’s interior minister, said it was in the national interest for Assange to submit to US judicial authorities, as this would ensure that “the justice system is respected”.
“As this has been sought in the past by the justice authorities of a sovereign state, Ecuador supports the extradition,” Quevedo said in a statement.
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The statement comes after the high court in London refused on Monday to reduce an injunction against Assange ordering him to stay inside Ecuador’s London embassy, where he has been holed up for six years.
Ecuador’s ministry of foreign affairs said in a separate statement that it welcomed the decision and called on “all countries with jurisdiction” to comply with an agreement reached in 2014 to prevent Ecuador from being forced to hand over Assange to a third country for trials.
Quietly, senior member of WikiLeaks JMP (@JulianAssange) To the point. I’m sure the US has authorised Ecuador to extradite me to the United States. #Assange #wikileaks
The supreme court confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that it had dismissed the appeal, overruling a court’s decision in July to back WikiLeaks and Assange’s appeal, which had been dismissed by the British court.
Assange accused Ecuador’s government of acting as an “agent” of the US in a letter sent to the judge at the high court hearing in July.
The 39-year-old Australian, whose whistleblowing website shocked the world with its release of thousands of secret US military and diplomatic documents, claimed he was in danger from US agents working undercover inside the embassy in London.
“I am facing the prospect of being executed, an assassination that could happen at any moment,” Assange said in the letter, which was seen by the Guardian.
Ecuador’s foreign ministry had originally accused him of using the letter as “a political or public relations stunt” in an effort to justify his stay at the embassy.
Ecuador granted him asylum in 2012, but in May 2016 the UK supreme court ruled he must leave the embassy if he wanted to take legal action against the government of President Rafael Correa.
A week later, Assange and the Ecuadorean government had a showdown which saw both parties talk themselves down from violent brinkmanship.
Both sides agreed to withdraw a notice of claim in a written “letter of intent”, and Ecuador promised that Assange would leave the embassy “whenever he wishes”.