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Ecuador court orders release of Swede linked to Assange

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An Ecuador court ordered the release Thursday of a Swedish national with ties to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and who was accused of computer hacking, as his detention was deemed “arbitrary.”

Ola Bini had been arrested while trying to travel to Japan April 11, the same day Ecuador rescinded Assange’s seven-year claim to asylum in their London embassy.

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“There was effectively a violation to (Bini’s) right to freedom,” and his detention was “illegitimate and arbitrary,” judge Patricio Vaca said in his ruling, ordering his immediate release.

The court will require Bini to periodically appear before authorities and banned him from leaving the country as investigations continue over his alleged hacking attacks.

“Today we have shown my innocence for the first time and we will continue to demonstrate my innocence,” Bini told reporters after being released a few hours after the hearing.

“I am not free as long this illegitimate investigation is going on,” Bini said earlier, and his lawyers insisted the entire case against him was baseless.

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Ecuador has linked Bini to WikiLeaks’s Assange — a damaging charge, as Quito has declared that any person close to the Australian was therefore involved in a plot to destabilize President Lenin Moreno.

Assange’s case, which has upset defenders of press freedoms and human rights, revolves around WikiLeaks publishing thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010.

He is currently spending a year in prison in Britain for violating bail when he fled to the Ecuadoran embassy in 2012 to avoid sexual assault accusations in Sweden.

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And Assange could face 175 years in prison under US charges of violating the Espionage Act. An extradition hearing is set for February.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Greenland row is Donald Trump positioning for an Arctic battle: expert

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The diplomatic row that has erupted between Washington and Copenhagen over Greenland is just one part of a broader strategic battle being waged over control of the Arctic, according to one expert.

US President Donald Trump has cancelled a trip to Denmark and launched a war of words with his Danish counterpart, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, after she rejected his idea of the US buying Greenland as "absurd".

Mikaa Mered, professor of polar geopolitics at Paris' ILERI institute of international relations said Trump's unsolicited advances on the autonomous territory were a way to indicate US interest in the resource-rich Arctic -- and to distract from domestic issues.

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‘We won’t give an inch’: India faces defiance in ‘Kashmir’s Gaza’

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Young men sit beside a pile of rocks and a bonfire, protecting the only entrance to a besieged neighbourhood they call "Kashmir's Gaza" as a mosque loudspeaker broadcasts slogans of liberation.

In an act of defiance against New Delhi's controversial decision to strip the Muslim-majority region of its autonomy, Soura neighbourhood on the outskirts of Kashmir's main city of Srinagar has sealed itself off from security forces.

Since early August, residents have erected ramshackle barricades of tin sheets, wooden logs, oil tanks and concrete pillars, and dug trenches to keep soldiers at bay amid daily protests against India.

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Second day of Italy crisis talks after prime minister resigns

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Italy's president will hold a second day of talks aimed at solving the political crisis shaking the country on Thursday after the disintegration of the populist government.

President Sergio Mattarella will meet the main parties, including the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and far-right League, after the breakdown of their dysfunctional coalition.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned on Tuesday after months of alliance sniping and a bid by League leader and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini to force a snap election, just 14 months since coming to power.

The nationalist, populist government's demonisation of migrants, promoted by Salvini in particular, and attempts to flout EU budget rules had angered many European leaders.

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