Julian Assange diplomatic status bid rejected by UK

Marie Harrington
January 12, 2018

Ecuador is exploring options to resolve his status and is very much interested in mediation by a third party, Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa told reporters Tuesday in Quito.

Julian Assange has been granted a passport to Ecuador, according to new reports. Assange, who made American embassy cables accepting the death of millions in Iraq war public, has been living in Ecuador embassy in London for last five years.

An FCO spokesman said: 'The government of Ecuador recently requested diplomatic status for Mr Assange here in the UK.

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

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange addresses the media from the balcony of Ecuador's London embassy.

The Ecuadorian initiative was meant to confer legal immunity on Assange, allowing him to slip out of the embassy and Britain without being arrested for breaching his former bail conditions.

Police say he will be arrested if he leaves the embassy in Knightsbridge for failing to surrender to the British court in 2012.

Earlier this week the UK's Foreign Office revealed that Ecuador had asked for Assange, who was born in Australia, to be accredited as a diplomat.

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The Australian-born activist took refuge at the Ecuadorean embassy in the United Kingdom capital in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, amid fears that he would have been handed over to the U.S. to face prosecution over the publication of classified military and diplomatic documents by WikiLeaks.

He was released on bail whilst fighting extradition to Sweden, but after losing his appeal in 2012 he sought asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

A statement by Assange's legal team said he was being held unlawfully. He maintains the charges are politically motivated and a way to extradite him to the United States for his whistleblowing activity.

"We will continue to protect Julian Assange while his physical and psychological integrity are at risk", Espinosa said.

The same day, it emerged that Ecuador had been looking for an global mediator to help put an end to the standoff centred around the 46-year-old leaker, who is an Australian citizen.

Assange also fears he will be extradited to the U.S. if he leaves the building over a sealed indictment ordering his arrest.

Assange's relationship with Ecuador has strained in recent years, most notably since the appointment of president Lenin Moreno in 2017 who warned him he "cannot meddle in national and global politics", especially in regards to "politics of countries that are our friends".

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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