Ecuador's foreign minister says UK should allow Julian Assange to exercise his 'fundamental right' to sunbathe

Assange has been holed up in the west London embassy for almost a year

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The Independent Online

Ecuador's foreign minister has said Britain should allow housebound fugitive and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to leave his country's embassy to sunbathe which, he said, is a "fundamental right."

Assange, 41, has been in the embassy in Kensington, west London, since June last year, avoiding extradition to Sweden on sex assault charges. The Metropolitan Police keep watch on the building around-the-clock and have orders to arrest the Australian if he steps outside.

Foreign minister Ricardo Patino will meet William Hague in London on Sunday, and today he said: “We believe he has a fundamental right to sunbathe.”

He said Assange can currently only enjoy the June rays through a window, adding: “His right to intimacy, mobility, a normal life and health is being restricted.

“I will be asking the British government to allow Mr Assange to sunbathe and enjoy the warm weather and sunshine because unfortunately, at this moment in time, he hasn’t been able to do so for a year.”

Assange was given diplomatic asylum two months after seeking refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy. At Sunday's meeting, Mr Patino is expected to tell Britain it has a duty to grant his charge safe passage out of the UK. The Wikileaks founder says he fears he will be handed over to the US and face the death penalty for publishing leaked secret documents if he is sent to Sweden.