Engel & Ros-Lehtinen to Ecuadorian President: Hand Over Julian Assange to Proper Authorities

Oct 17, 2018

For Immediate Release

Contacts:

HFAC Dem Press Office 202-226-9103

Reimy Benitez (Ros-Lehtinen) 202-225-8200

ENGEL & ROS-LEHTINEN TO ECUADORIAN PRESIDENT: HAND OVER JULIAN ASSANGE TO PROPER AUTHORITIES

Bipartisan Letter Praises President Moreno’s Reform Agenda and Calls for End to Assange Impasse

WASHINGTON—Representatives Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chair Emeritus of the Committee, today called on Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno to ensure that Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange is removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and handed over to the proper authorities. The bipartisan letter to President Moreno follows the recent news that Mr. Assange’s Internet access at the embassy has been restored.

“Many of us in the United States Congress are eager to move forward in collaborating with your government on a wide array of issues, from economic cooperation to counternarcotics assistance to the possible return of a United States Agency for International Development mission to Ecuador. However, in order to advance on these crucial matters, we must first resolve a significant challenge created by your predecessor, Rafael Correa – the status of Julian Assange,” the members wrote in their letter.

Full text of the letter follows, and an image of the signed letter can be found here:

Dear President Moreno:

We write today to acknowledge the significant progress your administration has made since you took office. Many of us in the United States Congress are eager to move forward in collaborating with your government on a wide array of issues, from economic cooperation to counternarcotics assistance to the possible return of a United States Agency for International Development mission to Ecuador. However, in order to advance on these crucial matters, we must first resolve a significant challenge created by your predecessor, Rafael Correa – the status of Julian Assange.

We are very concerned with Julian Assange’s continued presence at your embassy in London and his receipt of Ecuadorian citizenship last year. Most recently, we were particularly disturbed to learn that your government restored Mr. Assange’s access to the Internet. On numerous occasions, Mr. Assange has compromised the national security of the United States. He has done so by publicly releasing classified government documents along with confidential materials from individuals connected to our country’s 2016 presidential election. As you yourself have noted, he has repeatedly used his standing in the international media to meddle in the affairs of foreign governments such as Spain and the United Kingdom. This has frayed Ecuador’s relations with like-minded governments. Mr. Assange also remains wanted by British authorities for a bail violation. It is clear that Mr. Assange remains a dangerous criminal and a threat to global security, and he should be brought to justice.

We fully recognize that this is a problem that your administration did not create. We are hopeful about developing warmer relations with your government, but feel that it will be very difficult for the United States to advance our bilateral relationship until Mr. Assange is handed over to the proper authorities.

Thank you for your attention to this critical issue.

Sincerely,

Eliot L. Engel

Ranking Member

House Committee on Foreign Affairs

 

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Chair Emeritus

House Committee on Foreign Affairs

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