WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange granted Ecuadorian nationality

Jan 12, 2018, 03:21
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange granted Ecuadorian nationality

Ecuadorian Foreign Minister María Fernanda Espinosa affirmed that the situation with WikiLeaks head Julian Assange, is "unsustainable", so "the possibility of mediation" is being considered, in order to reach a solution.

Assange was granted political asylum in the London embassy about five-and-a-half years ago when Swedish prosecutors were investigating sex crime allegations against him. He claims such an arrest could be followed by extradition to the United States to face espionage charges.

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

But he can only leave the embassy by submitting himself to the judiciary, the British news agency PA quoted a Foreign Office spokesman as saying. "What naturalization does is provide the asylum-seeker another layer of protection", she said.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last April that Assange's arrest remains "a priority", adding, "Whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail".

A statement by Mr Assange's legal team said: "The UN ruling, issued nearly two years ago, is crystal clear in its language".

"We have an enormous interest in finding a definitive solution to the Assange case, and for that to happen we're in a permanent dialogue with the government of the United Kingdom", Ms Espinosa said.

But when his challenge to the extradition request was rejected, he jumped bail and became a fugitive, turning up at the Ecuadoran Embassy.

A United Nations panel ruled in 2016 that he was being "arbitrarily detained" and should be allowed to walk free.

A statement by Assange's legal team said he was being held unlawfully.

It comes after the former computer hacker was recently reprimanded by Ecuador's newly elected President Lenin Moreno, who warned the WikiLeaks founder to refrain from commenting on the politics of Ecuador's allies.

"The problem for both sides is that neither wants to lose face: Assange wants to be a symbol of resistance against an overreaching USA state, and does not want to admit his asylum was about his personal actions and not those of WikiLeaks".

The UK could agree not arrest him and permit his transfer to an airport so he can be flown to Quito.

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.

This sparks speculation that Assange is about to end his self-imposed exile.

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