The world of 2017 is not the world that our parents, or our parents’ parents grew up in, with hacking and espionage at the forefront of our daily lives.
2016’s presidential election was an example of just how entwined our lives have become with the concept of high-level spying, as Julian Assange and his whistleblower website Wikileaks dominated headlines in their campaign to delegitimize Hillary Clinton’s corrupt and crooked campaign. Now, Assange’s fate could be hanging in the balance of Ecuador’s election.
“When Ecuador holds a general election on Sunday, the results could have international repercussions linked to one man thousands of miles away: Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, who took refuge in the country’s embassy in London nearly five years ago and who remains there.
“Mr. Assange moved into the embassy in Knightsbridge, one of the British capital’s most affluent neighborhoods, after accusations of rape in Sweden, which he has described as a cover-up for an American effort to extradite him and try him on espionage charges.
“Whether Ecuador will continue its role of reluctant warden to Mr. Assange, who was granted asylum by President Rafael Correa in 2012, hinges on the outcome of the elections. Eight candidates are seeking the presidency, and at least two have said they would evict him if they won.
“If balloting reflects recent poll results, it is unlikely that Mr. Assange would need to pack his bags anytime soon: While Mr. Correa’s preferred successor, Lenín Moreno, is the front-runner, polls indicate that the election is likely to go to a second round, meaning that Mr. Assange’s fate may not be decided until a runoff in early April.”
Assange, a champion of governmental transparency, could be facing serious repercussions should his protected status be revoked following the election, which would be an enormous blow to free speech and individual freedoms around the globe.
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