Britain refuses Ecuador's request to grant Julian Assange diplomatic status

Adjust Comment Print

A UK Government spokesman responded, "The Government of Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice".

Foreign affairs minister María Fernanda Espinosa confirmed the government of Ecuador granted "naturalisation" to Mr Assange last December after he made a request in September.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to avoid arrest and extradition to the USA, was today denied diplomatic status by the United Kingdom government.

Assange has been living in the building in Knightsbridge, London since he was granted asylum there in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over rape allegations.

Reuters reported it had found an entry for "Julian Paul Assange" in Ecuador's civilian registry.

The WikiLeaks founder became a citizen of Ecuador on December 12, and now the country is seeking a "dignified and just" solution with the British Government, as Assange continues to live in its London Embassy.

Fernanda Espinosa, said: "No solution will be achieved without global cooperation and the cooperation of the United Kingdom, which has also shown interest in seeking a way out".

After five years of residency, the Ecuadorian government is actively working towards finding a way for Assange to finally vacate the building, although that can not happen without the UK's cooperation.

Ecuador's president at the time, Rafael Correa, was a vocal critic of the United States and an ally of another high-profile U.S. critic - Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

Mr Assange was accused of raping two women in Sweden in 2010 and was subsequently arrested in London.

His continued political activism creates diplomatic headaches for Ecuador. That's not the case for Julian Assange.

The moment he leaves the embassy, the United Kingdom is likely to arrest him for breaching his bail conditions when he sought asylum after losing his appeal. Were he to step one foot outside the embassy walls, he would find himself handcuffed and bundled away by the Metropolitan Police.

Assange, who denies the allegations, believes Sweden would hand him over to the United States to face prosecution over WikiLeaks' publication of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents in one of the largest information leaks in US history.

April 21, 2017: US Attorney General states that Assange's arrest is now a US "priority". Ecuador has repeatedly urged Assange not to interfere in the affairs of other countries following his frequent online comments on worldwide issues.