Former couch-surfing world record contender Julian Assange has had his Ecuadorian citizenship revoked.
An administrative court in Quito, Ecuador cited irregularities in the naturalization process – including the use of different signatures, potential document alterations, failure to pay fees, and a failure to reside in the country – as reasons the grant of citizenship was invalid. The court also assessed Assange's application interview as "undue and illegal".
Assange was notified he had lost his citizenship in a letter responding to a claim from Ecuador's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility. His less than happy lawyer, Carlos Poveda, said he will file for an annulment of the decision.
The Wikileaks founder was granted Ecuadorian citizenship as part of a plan to appoint him as a diplomat and use the immunity that status confers to get him out of the South American country's embassy in London, where he spent seven years confined to an office turned makeshift studio apartment.
The UK foiled Ecuador's plan to rid itself of an allegedly horrendous flatmate by refusing to register Assange as a diplomat.
Assange ended up in the embassy in the first place because he was seeking asylum from Swedish authorities investigating alleged sexual offences. Sweden discontinued that investigation in 2019.
- NSO Group 'will no longer be responding to inquiries' about misuse of its software
- No joy for Julian Assange as Uncle Sam confirms it will keep pushing for WikiLeaker's extradition to America
- I can 'proceed without you', judge tells Julian Assange after courtroom outburst
The leaker-in-chief eventually exited the embassy under duress, was convicted of skipping bail on his way there, and is presently fighting extradition proceedings as the USA seeks to try him for espionage on US soil.
As a citizen of Australia, Assange retains the right to serve any sentence in his home country, following conviction, sentencing and an application to do so. The application would be pending US approval, to which the USA has already agreed.
Losing Ecuadorian citizenship probably won't overly trouble Assange, as the nation fell out of love with the leaker and his cause to the extent that they facilitated his arrest and removal from the London embassy. Nor has Ecuador visibly supported his fight against extradition to the USA. ®