March 23, 2018

Julian Assange bags Ecuador citizenship

12 January 2018, 03:07 | Darnell Patrick

Julian Assange granted citizenship by Ecuador

International News

Julian Assange, who has been living in Ecuador's embassy in London for the past five years, is officially being granted Ecuadorian citizenship.

Ecuador's Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa said at a press conference in Capital city Quito that the government was concerned about potential threats to Assange's life from unspecified nations, The Washington Post reported.

Ecuador has considered giving Assange a diplomatic status to allow him to leave the Embassy in London, but the United Kingdom is pushing back at the suggestion.

Security staff were filing minute by minute reports of Assange's movements to Ecuador's intelligence agency.

It is also alleged that Ecuador is trying to make Assange a member of its diplomatic team which would allow him legal immunity and safe passage through the UK.

She did not give details on how granting Assange citizenship might help him leave the embassy and avoid arrest. He said the United States would "not discuss" whether it wanted to arrest Assange.

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However, the sex-assault case has been dropped by the Swedish prosecution in May 2017, but Assange feared that he will be arrested due to breaching bail conditions.

Ecuador's announcement came after several days of speculation that the Ecuadorean government was ramping up efforts to find a solution for Assange. Last year, these tensions came to the fore as Assange was publicly reprimanded by Ecuadorian officials for interfering in the USA election process - by publishing hacked emails from the DNC and Clinton campaign - while claiming asylum.

The Ecuadorean government has confirmed that Julian Assange was granted Ecuadorean citizenship on 12 December.

"No solution will be achieved without worldwide cooperation and the cooperation of the United Kingdom, which has also shown interest in seeking a way out", she told foreign correspondents in Quito, according to Agence France-Presse.

Correa left office in May after a decade as president. He has called Assange a hacker, and warned him not to meddle in politics.

She said that Ecuador had "the best relations of friendship and cooperation" with Britain.

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