Ecuador urges UK to discuss fate of Assange
MOSCOW, June 3 (RAPSI) - Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino has called on London to discuss the fate of Wikileaks' Julian Assange, who has been living in the Ecuadoran embassy in London since June 2012, even after having been granted political asylum by the South American country last August.
Assange has gained international notoriety in recent years for having exposed scores of sensitive and secret documents via his website Wikileaks. The present saga began, however, when the British Supreme Court upheld in May an order to extradite Assange to Sweden, where he is sought for questioning in connection with alleged sexual offenses.
Assange has denied the charges and believes that Sweden would turn him over to the US for leaking classified documents through Wikileaks, a crime punishable by death.
Patino has said he would like to discuss the issue with Foreign Secretary William Hague during his planned visit to Britain in June.
Julian Assange established Wikileaks in 2006. The site publishes confidential documents and images and made headlines in late November 2010 when it released top secret US diplomatic documents. In December, MasterCard, PayPal and Visa stopped accepting donations for Wikileaks, allegedly because it was involved in illegal activity.
On December 7, 2010, Assange was first detained in the UK after Sweden issued an international arrest warrant over allegations of sexual offenses, but was subsequently released on bail. In June 2012 he lost his appeal against the arrest warrant at the UK Supreme Court and then sought refuge in the Ecuadoran embassy in London.