Ecuador's Decision To Suspend Assange's Citizenship Unlawful - Lawyers

Ecuador's Decision to Suspend Assange's Citizenship Unlawful - Lawyers

MONTEVIDEO (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 17th April, 2019) Ecuador's announcement that it has suspended WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's citizenship is not something going in line with in the Constitution, Ecuadorean lawyers have told Sputnik.

Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Jose Valencia announced the move on Wednesday. The whistleblower was granted the nation's citizenship in January 2018. He lived at its embassy in London since 2012.

"Laws do not foresee suspension of citizenship. You either have it or you don't," Jorge Benavides, the dean of the law faculty at the UTE university in Quito who has a PhD in constitutional law, said.

He stressed that the government could not revoke Assange's citizenship without due legal process.

Lawyer and consultant Christian Pino said this was a politically motivated decision that would allow the Ecuadorean government to wash its hands of his possible extradition.

"You should bear in mind that Ecuador's Constitution does not allow the government to hand over an Ecuadorean national to another country," Pino stressed.

Assange was arrested at the embassy last week after Ecuador withdrew his political asylum status. A judge in London has found him guilty of skipping bail in 2012 when he faced extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges.

The whistleblower feared that Sweden would hand him over to the United States where he could be subject to death penalty for leaking classified Afghan war logs. The US Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against him on much milder charges of conspiracy to hack a government computer.

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