Assange’s associate, detained in Ecuador, released after questioning — TV

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STOCKHOLM, April 13. /TASS/. A man with reported ties to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who was earlier detained in Ecuador, was released after questioning, the SVT TV channel reported on Friday citing Ecuador’s embassy in Sweden.

The diplomatic mission announced, citing information obtained from the country’s officials, that “the man was questioned about WikiLeaks, but is free at present.”

The Swedish Foreign Ministry has not yet confirmed the detention of its citizens in Ecuador in the past 24 hours.

The UK-based Daily Express reported earlier on Friday that the man worked for Assange as a software developer for his WikiLeaks project. The paper identified him as Swedish national Ola Bini.

Ecuadorian Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo earlier said that a man, who was trying to board a plane to Japan, was detained in one of the country’s airports. She did not reveal his identity, but said the detainee, who has close ties to Assange, was apprehended on suspicion of “assisting attempts to destabilize situation in the country with the aim to harm the government.”

Assange was arrested by the United Kingdom’s Metropolitan Police Service at the Ecuadorian embassy in London on Thursday, after Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno had announced the withdrawal of his asylum.

In 2012, Assange sought refuge in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy to escape extradition to Sweden, which had issued a warrant for his arrest on sexual harassment and rape charges. Assange dismissed the accusations as politically motivated. His worst fear was Sweden might extradite him to the United States, where he would face 35 years in prison or capital punishment for publishing classified State Department documents. The rape case was dropped in 2017 but the United Kingdom continued to insist that Assange be arrested over his failure to appear in court in London.

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