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Published On: Wed, Aug 15th, 2012

Ecuador grants Wikileaks founder Julian Assange asylum

Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, has agreed to grant Julian Assange asylum, officials within Ecuador’s government have said. The WikiLeaks founder has been holed up at Ecuador’s London embassy since 19 June, when he officially requested political asylum.

photo/Espen Moe

“Ecuador will grant asylum to Julian Assange,” said an official in the Ecuadorean capital, Quito, who is familiar with the government discussions.

 On Monday, Correa told state-run ECTV that he would decide this week whether to grant asylum to Assange. Correa said a large amount of material about international law had to be examined to make a responsible, informed decision.

Ricardo Patiño, Ecuador’s foreign minister, indicated that the president would reveal his answer once the Olympic Games were over. But it remains unclear if Assange will be allowed to leave Britain and fly to Ecuador, or amounts to little more than a symbolic gesture.

At the moment he faces arrest as soon as he leaves the embassy for breaching his bail conditions.

“For Mr Assange to leave England, he should have a safe pass from the British [government]. Will that be possible? That’s an issue we have to take into account,” Patiño told Reuters on Tuesday.

An official with knowledge of the discussions said the embassy had discussed Assange’s request. The British government, however, “discouraged the idea”, the official said. He described the Swedish government as “not very collaborative”.

The official added: “We see Assange’s request as a humanitarian issue. The contact between the Ecuadorean government and WikiLeaks goes back to May 2011, when we became the first country to see the leaked US embassy cables completely declassified … It is clear that when Julian entered the embassy there was already some sort of deal. We see in his work a parallel with our struggle for national sovereignty and the democratisation of international relations.”

Assange took refuge in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations of sexual misconduct. He is said to be living in one room of the diplomatic building, where he has an internet connection.

Ecuadorian diplomats believe Assange is at risk of being extradited from Sweden to the US, where he could face the death penalty. Assange’s supporters claim the US has already secretly indicted him following WikiLeaks’ release in 2010 of US diplomatic cables, as well as classified Afghan and Iraq war logs.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Julian Assage says Wikileaks will release 1 million more documents in 2013 - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] Assange’s address came from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he took refuge in June. […]

  2. Britain says Julian Assange will not be given safe passage to Ecuador, ‘may storm’ embassy - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] is expected to come a step closer to being traversed when Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, gave his decision to grant the WikiLeaks’ founder asylum on Thursday. Photo/Espen Moe via wikimedia […]

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