Julian Assange granted Ecuador citizenship after more than five years living in London embassy

Country's foreign minister says Wikileaks founder requires 'security guarantees' to leave building

Jon Sharman
Thursday 11 January 2018 17:21 GMT
Julian Assange, seen on the embassy balcony in May 2017
Julian Assange, seen on the embassy balcony in May 2017 (AP)

Julian Assange has been granted Ecuadorian citizenship as the country says it is seeking a “dignified and just” resolution to the Wikileaks founder’s extended residence in its London embassy.

Mr Assange was granted political asylum in the embassy five-and-a-half years ago when Swedish prosecutors were investigating sex crime allegations against him.

The investigation has since been dropped but Mr Assange, 46, has refused to leave, claiming he fears arrest over breaching his bail because he might be extradited to the US.

This week the UK refused Ecuador’s request the former Australian be given diplomatic status.

“The UK did not grant that request, nor are we in talks with Ecuador on this matter. Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice,” the Foreign Office said.

Quito said the country was seeking mediation to resolve the impasse - while Mr Assange posted a picture of himself on Twitter wearing an Ecuadorian football shirt on Wednesday.

Ecuador’s foreign minister, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, said on Thursday Mr Assange will not leave the embassy without “security guarantees”, and that she feared there were threats to his life from “third party states”.

Mr Assange was granted citizenship on 12 December, she added at a press conference in Quito.

Additional reporting by agencies

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