Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Ecuador grants nationality to Julian Assange

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Pablo Mccormick | 11 January, 2018, 21:05

The Foreign Office turned down a request from the Ecuadorian government to grant WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange diplomatic status.

The nation's foreign minister announced Thursday that officials had chose to permit Assange's naturalization while they look for ways to resolve his situation.

The 46-year-old founder has been a tenant at Ecuador's embassy since 2012 when he was granted asylum by Ecuador following sexual assault allegations. Diplomatic immunity would allow him to leave the embassy without the possibility of being arrested for jumping bail in 2012.

Country's foreign minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa said the government has made a decision to award him the citizenship to ease his situation.

The Associated Press reports that Ecuador has granted citizenship to Julian Assange. Though the charges were ultimately dropped, Assange continued to stay at the embassy over fears he would be extradited to the USA in connection with WikiLeaks' release of military files on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

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A Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) spokesperson was quoted Wednesday night by British media, including the Guardian that the "government of Ecuador recently requested diplomatic status for Assange here in the United Kingdom", but "the United Kingdom did not grant that request, nor are we in talks with Ecuador on this matter". "Britain did not grant that request, nor are we in talks with Ecuador on this matter".

She stressed several times that Ecuador is following all national and global laws and is "dedicated to protecting the human rights" of Assange in this "delicate case".

"Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice".

The biggest crisis came in October 2016, when the embassy cut his internet service after WikiLeaks published a trove of emails from then-U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Per the outlet, Assange was given the passport on December 21, 2017. Espinosa called Assange's living arrangements "untenable".