Ecuadorean judge orders Swedish citizen close to Assange jailed pending trial

QUITO (Reuters) – An Ecuadorean judge ordered a Swedish citizen, who according to the Andean country’s government was linked to WikiLeaks, jailed pending trial for alleged involvement in hacking government computer systems, the prosecutor’s office said on Saturday.

Ola Bini, who has lived in Ecuador for five years, was detained at Quito airport on Thursday as he prepared to board a flight to Japan, after the country’s interior minister said three foreign citizens had been leaking private information related to the South American country.

That announcement came the same day Ecuador ended its asylum for Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks who had lived in the country’s London embassy since 2012, avoiding possible extradition to the United States, where he has been charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.

More recently, Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno had accused WikiLeaks and Assange of violating his privacy by publishing private family photographs. WikiLeaks has denied those allegations, arguing that Moreno was attempting to deflect attention from corruption allegations against him.

Bini, a 36-year-old software developer, works at the Quito-based Center for Digital Autonomy, an organization focusing on cybersecurity and data privacy. Bini had visited Assange at the embassy some 12 times in recent years, interior minister Maria Paulo Romo said in a local television interview on Friday.

Bini’s lawyer, Carlos Soria, called the judge’s decision “incomprehensible and surprising,” and said he planned to appeal the decision, arguing that the justice system “has allowed itself to be influenced by non-judicial factors.”

“They are trying to link him with some sort of possible espionage case without any proof or evidence,” Soria told Reuters in a telephone interview. “He is a personal friend of Julian Assange, he is not a member of WikiLeaks, and being friends with somebody is not a crime – neither is having computers in your home.”

The prosecutor’s office said it had found “a large quantity” of electronic equipment and credit cards in Bini’s suitcase and during a raid of his home.

It also presented a report showing he had paid more than $230,000 for internet services between 2015 and 2019.

Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by James Dalgleish

Source

more recommended stories

  • Japanese police officer stabbed in possible targeted attack – NHK

    TOKYO (Reuters) – A Japanese police.

  • Magnitude 7.4 earthquake strikes Kermadec Islands in South Pacific: warning center

    MELBOURNE (Reuters) – A 7.4 magnitude.

  • Iran summons UK envoy over ‘unfounded’ tanker accusations

    FILE PHOTO: An oil tanker is.

  • Jailed British-Iranian aid worker in Iran starts hunger strike – husband

    LONDON (Reuters) – A British-Iranian aid.

  • State sponsor behind May tanker attacks, says UAE minister

    FILE PHOTO: United Arab Emirates Foreign.

  • Russia’s Putin gives China’s Xi ice cream on his 66th birthday

    Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) toasts.

  • Hong Kong media say controversial extradition bill may be suspended

    HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong.

  • Indian migrant girl, 6, died in Arizona desert as mother sought water

    (Reuters) – A six-year-old girl from.

  • U.S. and Gulf allies face tough task protecting oil shipping lanes

    DUBAI (Reuters) – The United States.

  • Migrants rush to enter Mexico ahead of security crackdown demanded by Trump

    CIUDAD HIDALGO, Mexico (Reuters) – Central.

  • French, Italian shipbuilders forge naval alliance

    PARIS (Reuters) – France and Italy.

  • Oman following Yemen escalation with ‘great concern’ – Omani media

    FILE PHOTO: Saudi security officers are.

  • U.S. blames Iran for tanker attacks in Gulf of Oman, Iran rejects assertion

    DUBAI/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States.

  • Democrats – Trump comments give green light to foreign election meddling

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic lawmakers accused.

  • White House spokeswoman Sanders leaving job at end of month

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – White House spokeswoman.

  • Two tankers struck in suspected attacks in Gulf of Oman – sources

    DUBAI (Reuters) – Two tankers were.

  • Hong Kong shuts government offices, security tight after violent protests

    HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong.

  • Macri’s key rivals in Argentina presidential election strike alliance with centrist

    BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – The main.

  • Italy’s Salvini threatens to use strict new law on German NGO boat

    ROME (Reuters) – Italian Interior Minister.

  • Austria moves towards September 29 election as parliament draws towards close

    FILE PHOTO: Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian.

  • Missing British hiker found dead in New Zealand – police

    WELLINGTON (Reuters) – The body of.

  • Trump and Kim one year on: A ‘beautiful letter’, stalled diplomacy

    SEOUL (Reuters) – A year after.

  • Thousands of protesters paralyse Hong Kong’s financial hub over extradition bill

    HONG KONG (Reuters) – Chaotic scenes.

  • Protests abating, Macron sends PM to map out exit from reform ‘death valley’

    PARIS (Reuters) – President Emmanuel Macron.

  • Uganda confirms first Ebola case during current outbreak, a Congolese child – WHO

    GENEVA/KAMPALA (Reuters) – Uganda has confirmed.

  • Botswana’s High Court decriminalises homosexuality

    JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Botswana decriminalised homosexuality.

  • Kazakh activists call for more protests over presidential vote

    ALMATY (Reuters) – Anti-government activists called.

  • Italy’s coalition to work to avert EU disciplinary action over budget – PM’s office

    ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s coalition leaders.

  • Japan PM Abe to meet Iran’s Khamenei, Rouhani this week

    TOKYO (Reuters) – Prime Minister Shinzo.

  • Turkish F-35 pilots no longer flying at U.S. base – Pentagon

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Training by Turkish.

  • U.S. House Democrats to get some Mueller evidence, Trump calls witness ‘sleazebag’

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Congressional Democrats and.

  • Defying law, Indian farm group says it planted unapproved GM cotton seeds

    MUMBAI (Reuters) – An Indian farm.