WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been stripped of his Ecuadorian citizenship over claims of unpaid fees and false documents.
According to the AP, Ecuador formally notified Assange that his citizenship had been nullified, citing inconsistencies, different signatures, unpaid fees, and possibly altered documents in his naturalization letter.
Assange’s lawyer, Carlos Poveda, told the AP that the decision by Ecuador had been made without due process and that Assange, Australian by birth and currently imprisoned in the U.K., would not be allowed to appear in the case.
“On the date (Assange) was cited, he was deprived of his liberty and with a health crisis inside the deprivation of liberty center where he was being held,” Poveda told the news wire, adding that he planned on appealing to decision and would seek clarification.
“More than the importance of nationality, it is a matter of respecting rights and following due process in withdrawing nationality,” Poveda added.
Assange had been granted Ecuadorian citizenship in 2018 as part of an attempt by then-Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno to get him out of the country’s embassy in London, where Assange resided for seven to avoid arrest.
Speaking to the AP, Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry said the decision, made by the Pichincha Court for Contentious Administrative Matters, had been made “independently and followed due process in a case that took place during the previous government and that was raised by the same previous government.”
The Biden administration is currently pursuing efforts to have Assange extradited to the U.S. He has been indicted on charges connected to allegations that he intentionally worked with hacker groups to publish sensitive information. He faces 18 charges, alleging that he worked with former Army Intelligence Analyst Chelsea Manning to disclose sensitive “national defense information.”
A British court earlier this month allowed the U.S. to appeal a lower court’s decision against allowing Assange to be extradited to the U.S.