Ecuador extends asylum for Assange
MOSCOW, November 24 (RAPSI) – Ecuador confirmed on Friday that it would extend asylum for the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, who has been living in the Ecuadoran embassy in London for over two years, RIA Novosti reports.
The decision was taken the day after the Stockholm Court of Appeals rejected Assange’s appeal to revoke a detention order issued over allegations of sexual assault in 2010.
The Ecuadoran Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying: “In keeping with its long tradition of protecting human rights, particularly those of the victims of political persecution, Ecuador reaffirms its commitment to protect the life and liberty of Julian Assange.”
The ministry said that asylum for Assange, 43, would be extended for as long as is needed to find a safe place for him.
Ecuador is willing to cooperate with Swedish law enforcement official in solving the sexual assault case. “Ecuador confirms the invitation for Swedish representatives to visit its embassy in London to question Julian Assange, or to conduct a video conference for this purpose,” the Ecuadoran foreign ministry statement says.
Assange believes he is wanted for his role in obtaining and leaking hundreds and thousands of US diplomatic cables and Army reports from Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is serving 35 years for obtaining and passing the documents to WikiLeaks.
Ecuador’s human rights law prohibits the extradition of people to countries where they could face the death penalty. US federal prosecutors could pursue capital punishment for Assange under the Espionage Act of 1917 if he is found to have aided the country’s enemies by leaking the documents.