World News

Julian Assange Must Be Released, Says Julian Assange

Julian Assange Must Be Released, Says Julian Assange

On Thursday the UK Foreign Office revealed that the government of Ecuador had recently requested diplomatic status for Assange in the UK.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was "naturalized" as an Ecuadorean on December 12, at his request, Ecuador's foreign minister said on Thursday, adding that she was seeking a "dignified" solution to his situation with Britain.

Assange initially sought refuge in the embassy after Sweden sought to have him arrested in connection with allegations of rape and assault. 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".

Assange had also resisted being questioned in Sweden over the rape allegation out of fear that he might be extradited to the USA over Wikileaks' exposure of classified documents.

He was wanted in Sweden for questioning over rape accusations.

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. Ecuador says it will continue to protect Assange, but he can't stay at the embassy indefinitely. Shortly before the 2016 USA election, WikiLeaks accused Ecuadorian officials in the London embassy of temporarily cutting off the former computer hacker's internet access for publishing an array of emails belonging to Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton's campaign in a bid to impact the vote.

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However, media reports suggest there are attempts in Washington to have the investigation dropped if Assange offers proof on who was behind the Clinton leaks. However, he is still facing an arrest warrant in London for failure to surrender to the court in 2012.

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

He is still in the embassy, however, as he fears if he leaves he will be extradited to the US. The Australian became an Ecuadorian citizen on December 12.

The news broke that Assange had received his passport from the government Wednesday, hours after he uploaded a picture of himself wearing an Ecuadorian soccer jersey to his Twitter.

In February 2016, the United Nations panel confirms its view that Assange has been "arbitrarily detained", saying he should be able to claim compensation from Britain and Sweden.


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