World

Julian Assange denied diplomatic status by UK

Julian Assange denied diplomatic status by UK

"What naturalization does is provide the asylum-seeker another layer of protection", said Ecuador's Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa at a press conference in Quito.

Ecuador gave Assange asylum after he sought refuge in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden for investigation of sex-related claims. Although Sweden is no longer seeking his extradition, Assange has refused to leave, saying that he fears Britain would extradite him to the United States to face charges relating to his involvement in multiple releases of documents that USA officials say have damaged national security.

The Foreign Office said on Wednesday it turned down a request from the Ecuadorian government to grant Mr Assange diplomatic status. "He also fears a possible US extradition request based on his leaking of classified State Department documents".

Although Sweden dropped the case, he is wanted by the United Kingdom police for jumping bail.

"A person can not live in those conditions forever", she added, reiterating that Ecuador will continue to provide the whistleblower with all necessary assistance.

His stay in the Ecuador embassy has been reported to have cost the Metropolitan Police in London several million us dollars in police presence outside the embassy.

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August 2010: An arrest warrant is issued for Julian Assange after his trip to Sweden. Since August 2012, the 46-year-old Australian computer programmer was living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, expressing concern that if he leaves the embassy he could end up being extradited to the USA, where he fears facing the death penalty, according to CNN.

A spokeswoman for the British Foreign Office said that from its perspective: "He is free to leave the Ecuadorean embassy whenever he wants". The Swedish prosecutors halted the case against Assange in September 2017.

He is still in the embassy, however, as he fears if he leaves he will be extradited to the US. The passport was reportedly granted to him on December 12.

A United Nations panel concluded in 2016 that Mr Assange was under arbitrary detention.

The UK's rejection of a diplomatic pass comes after Assange tweeted a cryptic picture of him dressed in the colours of Ecuador.


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