Categories: SecurityWorkspace

Ecuador President Mulls Julian Assange Asylum

The President of Ecuador is still considering the asylum request of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, despite a media report that he has already decided to grant the application.

Assange has been residing at Ecuador’s London embassy for eight weeks after he officially requested political asylum on 19 June.

Asylum granted?

Assange fled to the embassy after he lost his final plea to avoid extradition from the UK to Sweden, where he currently faces allegations of raping a woman and sexually molesting and coercing another in Stockholm in August 2010.

He claims the sex was consensual and that the accusations against him are politically motivated. Assange has not been charged in Sweden, but is wanted for questioning.

The Guardian newspaper reported on Wednesday that the President of Ecuador Rafael Correa has already decided to grant Assange’s request for asylum.

The newspaper cited an unnamed government official in the Ecuadorian capital, saying the decision had already been made.

“Ecuador will grant asylum to Julian Assange,” the official in the Ecuadorean capital, Quito, who is familiar with the government discussions, was reported as saying.

“We see Assange’s request as a humanitarian issue,” said the source. “The contact between the Ecuadorean government and WikiLeaks goes back to May 2011, when we became the first country to see the leaked US embassy cables completely declassified … It is clear that when Julian entered the embassy there was already some sort of deal. We see in his work a parallel with our struggle for national sovereignty and the democratisation of international relations.”

However, within hours of the Guardian article, President of Ecuador Rafael Correa took to Twitter to deny the report that his government has already decided to grant asylum to Julian Assange. He said it was a “false rumour”.

“Rumour of asylum for Assange is false. There is still no decision on the subject. I await report from [Ecuadorian] foreign office,” he tweeted.

Correa had previously said he would make a decision on the matter this week.

Whether Ecuador decides to grant the asylum request may not save the Wikileaks founder, considering that Assange faces arrest as soon as he leaves the embassy because he has breached his bail conditions.

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Tom Jowitt @TJowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

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