Ecuador gives Assange citizenship, seeks solution with Britain

Elias Hubbard
January 14, 2018

After over five years held up at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, British authorities rejected Thursday a bid to allow Julian Assange safe passage in London, after Ecuador's foreign minister said she'd granted Assange citizenship.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, May 19, 2017.

Assange first sought refuge and political asylum in the Ecuadorean Embassy in 2012, when he faced possible extradition to Sweden amid a sexual assault investigation that has since been dropped.

Assange has refused to step outside the embassy and claimed he fears being extradited to the United States, for WikiLeaks' publication of leaked secret USA military documents and diplomatic cables in 2010. A spokeswoman for the registry declined to comment when asked if Assange had been granted citizenship.

"Ecuador is now exploring other solutions in dialogue with the United Kingdom, like good offices of renowned authorities, other states, or global organizations that could facilitate a just, final and dignified solution for all parties", Ecuador's foreign minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa told a press conference.

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She did not give details on how granting Assange citizenship might help in avoiding his arrest by British police.

Sweden dropped their investigation over the 2010 allegations a year ago, but British police have said they are still seeking to arrest him for failing to surrender to a court after violating bail terms.

"From a human point of view, [it] is not sustainable", Espinosa said of Assange's current arrangement.

The Government of Ecuador recently requested diplomatic status for Mr Assange here in the UK.

The former computer hacker enraged Washington by publishing hundreds of thousands of secret USA diplomatic cables that laid bare often highly critical US appraisals of world leaders from Russian President Vladimir Putin to the Saudi royal family.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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