But Assange will remain as the publisher of the organization, Mashable reports. He is being replaced by Kristinn Hrafnsson as the new editor in chief. The change is happening because Assange lost his right to use the internet at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London six months ago. In a statement, WikiLeaks explained:
“Due to the extraordinary circumstances where Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has been held incommunicado ( . . . ) for six months while arbitrarily detained in the Ecuadorian embassy, Mr. Assange has appointed Kristinn Hrafnsson Editor in Chief of WikiLeaks.”
Assange has been at the embassy for six years where he has been granted asylum. He sought asylum after the Swedish government attempted to extradite him on rape charges–charges he denied and that were eventually dropped by Swedish prosecutors in 2017. But Assange remains in the embassy because he continues to face arrest by British police over a warrant issued for jumping bail–a warrant a judge found to be valid. Should he be arrested under the U.K. warrant, the British government could decide to extradite him to America where he could face charges of publishing state secrets.
But it seems Ecuadorian officials are not happy with Assange either. This past March, the embassy cut off his access to communication with anyone outside of the embassy because he breached the agreement he had with them not to “issue messages that might interfere with other states.” Ecuadorian officials say Assange broke that agreement when he tweeted a message challenging Britain’s accusation that Russia was responsible for the poisoning of a Russian former double agent and his daughter in Salisbury earlier this year.
[Note: This post has been updated to clarify that Swedish prosecutors dropped the charges of rape against Assange in 2017, and why Assange still remains in the embassy.]