Julian Assange will be evicted from Ecuadorian embassy, says presidential hopeful

Ecuador's current foreign minister has compared the situation to a John le Carré novel

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The Independent Tech

Julian Assange may soon be asked to leave the Ecuadorian embassy.

The WikiLeaks boss has been hiding inside the country's London building since summer 2012. But he may be given a month's notice to leave soon, according to Ecuadorian politicians.

One presidential candidate, who will fight in the election next week, has promised that he will "cordially ask" Mr Assange to leave if he wins the contest. The present government has suggested it is has done "all it can" for Mr Assange's physical comfort since he entered the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning about a sexual assault allegation.

Guillermo Lasso, who is running for president as part of the rightwing Creo-Suma alliance, said that if he wins next week he will get straight to asking Mr Assange to leave.

“The Ecuadorian people have been paying a cost that we should not have to bear,” he said during an interview with The Guardian. “We will cordially ask Señor Assange to leave within 30 days of assuming a mandate.”

Mr Lasso is still seven points behind the ruling party candidate Lenín Moreno, according to recent polling. But he is gaining votes and the contest is expected to be close.

The current foreign minister has appeared to question the ongoing asylum being granted to Mr Assange, describing the situation as "something out of a John le Carré novel".

“Our staff have been through a lot. There is a human cost,” said foreign minister Guillaume Long. “This is probably the most watched embassy on the planet.”

Mr Long described Assange's situation as "precarious".

“In terms of his physical comfort we have done all we can," he said. "But there is no access to an outside space. There is no patio or garden so he has mostly spent four and a half years on the first floor of a building in London, where there is not much light, especially in winter.”

Mr Assange lives in one of four office rooms inside of the embassy. He is thought to have a mostly friendly relationship with the staff there, but has occasionally run into disputes – such as when his internet was cut off during the US election, because he was releasing emails from his room and apparently implicating Ecuador in interfering with US politics.

The WikiLeaks founderhas already suggested that he may leave the building. He had promised that he would leave the building if Barack Obama pardoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning – but when that clemency was granted, Mr Assange was evasive about whether he would actually go and talked only about leaving for questioning by the US.

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