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Ecuador agrees to hand over Julian Assange’s documents to US authorities



Officials in Ecuador have reportedly agreed to handover any documents, including hard drives, computers, and cell phones to US authorities as they search the Ecuadorian embassy where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was previously holed up for nearly 7 years.

According to Spanish newspaper El Pais, Ecuador’s attorney general has approved a search of one of the rooms in the embassy Assange used during his stay. Ecuador has agreed to pass any documents or data found during the search to US authorities, who are planning to extradite Assange from the UK on charges related to hacking classified US government computers.

The Department of Justice has outlined charges against Assange linked to his activities with former US soldier Chelsea Manning. The two leaked a massive collection of state secrets in 2010.

Assange was dramatically expelled from the London embassy in April, and was sentenced to 50 weeks in a British prison for breaching bail conditions dating back to 2012. Assange remained inside the embassy for almost seven years after being granted political asylum by Ecuador. He refused to leave the building out of fear of arrest if he stepped outside.

On Monday, Swedish prosecutors announced plans to reopen a previously dropped investigation into rape allegations made against Assange. If found guilty, the 47-year-old could face up to four years in Swedish prison. Assange has consistently denied the allegations.

Read more: Julian Assange sentenced to 50 weeks in British prison following his dramatic expulsion from Ecuadorian Embassy

Earlier this month, WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson was denied entry into the embassy after trying to retrieve Assange’s belongings, referring to the incident as “theft.”

“It’s pictures of his family, it’s his personal belongings, equipment. He’s been in there for seven years, you can imagine how much is there that needs to be retrieved,” Hrafnsson told supporters and press outside the embassy. “They have no right to hold his material.”

According to El Pais, the search will take place on May 20 as part of a petition by the US Department of Justice for judicial assistance from the Ecuadorean government. The plans to search the sealed-off room have been communicated to Assange’s lawyer in Ecuador, Carlos Paveda, the report said.

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