What's Next For Julian Assange? Ecuador Gives Citizenship To Wikileaks Founder
12 January, 2018, 14:15 | Author: Brenda Erickson
Maria Fernanda Espinosa, Ecuador's foreign minister, told reporters on Thursday that the South American country accepted Assange's application for naturalisation in December.
Assange had sought asylum in Ecuador's London embassy in 2012 after losing court battles to avoid being extradited to Sweden over a rape allegation.
While Swedish officials dropped their investigation into a rape claim involving Assange, the United Kingdom has repeatedly said that he would be arrested by police for breaking a prior bail condition should he step outside the embassy.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: "Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Assange to leave the embassy to face justice". Assange, who denies the allegations, feared Sweden would hand him over to the USA to face prosecution over WikiLeaks' publication of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents in one of the largest information leaks in United States history.
The rape allegations case remains open and active. Assange later taunted after Lasso's loss that he would "cordially invite Lasso to leave Ecuador within 30 days".
His stay in the Ecuador embassy has been reported to have cost the Metropolitan Police in London several million USA dollars in police presence outside the embassy. Assange was arrested in London in December that year on a pan-European warrant.
The decision to grant citizenship comes amid flurry of activity suggesting that Ecuador had ramped up efforts to find a solution for Assange.
"Ecuador is now exploring other solutions in dialogue with the UK", Ecuador's foreign minister, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, told reporters Thursday.
May 19, 2017: Swedish prosecutors announce the investigations have been discontinued. Until the Foreign Office grants him the said immunity, it seems he would be holed up in the embassy for a long time. The Ecuadorian government has granted him political asylum.
Following reports in Ecuadorean media that Mr Assange may have received citizenship, he posted a picture of himself on Twitter wearing an Ecuadorian football shirt on Wednesday.
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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