Julian Assange granted citizenship by Ecuador

12 January, 2018, 03:21 | Author: Malcolm Fuller
  • Julian Assange diplomatic status bid rejected by UK

It is seeking a third-party mediator to broker a deal with the United Kingdom in an effort to find a way for Mr Assange, who is an Australian citizen, to leave their building.

Ms Espinosa said Ecuador had granted Assange citizenship while it looked for a "dignified" solution to his situation with Britain. "What naturalization does is provide the asylum-seeker another layer of protection", she said.

Moreno a year ago said Assange could stay in the embassy but called him a "hacker" and warned him not to intervene in the politics of countries friendly to Ecuador.

Espinosa said that in December, the Ecuadorian government requested diplomatic status for Assange, pointing out that his Ecuadorian naturalization reinforces his status as "protected".

Ecuador is hoping it can break a long impasse that has seen WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange holed up in its London embassy for five years.

Swedish prosecutors initially wanted Assange extradited to face the sexual assault allegations, but they dropped their investigation into him in May 2017. However, Metropolitan Police say he still faces a charge related to failing to surrender to a court and might still be arrested on those charges, BBC reported.

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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".

The UK has turned down a request from Ecuador to grant diplomatic status to Julian Assange - as a means of breaking a longstanding deadlock over his fate.

"The UK should not permit itself to be intimidated by the Trump administration's public threats to 'take down" Mr Assange'. But in the past year, his relations with his hosts have soured as he's clashed with current President Lenin Moreno over social media while his continued political activism creates diplomatic headaches for Ecuador. He originally sought sanctuary in the embassy, fearing that if he was sent to Sweden he would be extradited to the United States over the Wikileaks case.

On Twitter, she did declare, "We will continue to protect Julian Assange". It would have enabled him to walk out of the embassy without fear of arrest.

Assange has compared living inside the embassy - a gardenless apartment in London's plush Knightsbridge district, opposite Harrods department store - to life on a space station.

He also said that the risk of Assange being prosecuted in the USA has increased "in recent months under the Trump administration's war on WikiLeaks".

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