WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange given Ecuadorian citizenship

12 January, 2018, 06:21 | Author: Marjorie Miles
  • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange | AP

Yesterday, Ecuador's foreign minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa said Assange's stay had become "untenable" and she was seeking a mediator's assistance.

Assange had sought asylum in Ecuador's London embassy in 2012 after losing court battles to avoid being extradited to Sweden over a rape allegation. But Assange still faces arrest for breaching bail conditions if he steps outside the embassy and WikiLeaks has voiced fears that the U.S. will seek his extradition and that there is a sealed indictment ordering his arrest. Ecuador had applied for Assange to receive diplomatic status, that would presumably let him leave the embassy without a pair of handcuffs, but the Foreign Office has rejected that request. "He also fears a possible US extradition request based on his leaking of classified State Department documents".

Assange had been wanted on assault claims in Sweden, but that case against him has been dropped.

"We have reminded Mr Assange that he has no reason to interfere in Ecuadorian politics because his status does not allow it", Moreno told a Spanish newspaper.

The decision to grant citizenship comes amid flurry of activity suggesting that Ecuador had ramped up efforts to find a solution for Assange. Ecuador has repeatedly urged Assange not to interfere in the affairs of other countries following his frequent online comments on worldwide issues. Until the Foreign Office grants him the said immunity, it seems he would be holed up in the embassy for a long time.

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Espinosa said the issue was not about Assange facing British law, but "founded fears that we have about possible risks to the life and integrity of citizen Assange, not necessarily from the United Kingdom, but possibly by third states".

Following the announcement from the Foreign Office, Assange in a tweet said, "The US & UK governments continue their attempts to arrest me in violation of two United Nations rulings and their own laws".

In March, Swedish prosecutors offer to question Assange in London.

He said the decision to grant him asylum in 2012 had "generated problems" in Ecuador and had only discredited the country overseas, particularly in the United States.

WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has cryptically uploaded a picture of himself dressed in the national colors of Ecuador.

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