LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 19: Julian Assange speaks to the media from the balcony of the Embassy Of Ecuador on May 19, 2017 in London, England. Julian Assange, founder of the Wikileaks website that published US Government secrets, has been wanted in Sweden on charges of rape since 2012. He sought asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and today police have said he will still face arrest if he leaves. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

The Ecuadoran authorities have expressed certainty that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will not be extradited to a country, where tortures and death penalty are practiced, the Ecuadoran Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued on Thursday.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs id fully certain that the guarantees provided by the United Kingdom to Ecuador that Assange will not be extradited to a country, where he can face death penalties or be subjected to torture will be fulfilled,” the communique published on the Ministry’s official website reads.

The statement was released ahead of the first extended hearing of the Assange extradition to the United States case in London’s Belmarsh Magistrates’ Court scheduled for Friday.

Assange founded the WikiLeaks portal in 2006 to publish classified information about the activities of a number of governments, including that of the United States. After harassment and rape charges had been brought against him in Sweden in 2012 by two women, Assange sought refuge in London’s Ecuadorian Embassy to escape extradition to the US, where he uninterruptedly spent almost seven years. In April, the authorities of Ecuador withdrew his asylum, London’s Metropolitan Police immediately arrested him for failing to appear in court under the 2012 warrant, as well as in accordance with the extradition request sent by Washington to the British authorities in 2018.

On May 1, Assange was sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching his British bail conditions.

In case the WikiLeaks founder is extradited to the United States, he might be sentenced to 175 years in prison for hacking activities, according to the US Department of Justice charges. The journalists’ defense earlier expressed concerns that Assange might face death penalty in the US.

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