Published: Thu, January 11, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

WikiLeaks' Julian Assange gets Ecuadorian identity number

WikiLeaks' Julian Assange gets Ecuadorian identity number

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to avoid arrest and extradition to the USA, was today denied diplomatic status by the United Kingdom government.

Assange has been ensconced in the Ecuadorian embassy for over five years to escape possible extradition to Sweden after he was accused of sexually assaulting two women.

"The government of Ecuador recently requested diplomatic status for Assange here in the UK".

The Australian is living in a small office at the Ecuadorian embassy.

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Mr Assange faces arrest for breaking his bail conditions if he leaves Ecuador's London embassy, where he has resided since 2012, claiming asylum.

According to El Universo, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been issued an Ecuadorian passport and a citizenship card that corresponds to the province of Pichincha.

But he can only leave the embassy by submitting himself to the judiciary, the British news agency PA quoted a Foreign Office spokesman as saying.

Ecuador foreign minister María Fernanda Espinosa has said that the country is seeking a neutral third-party nation's mediation to revolve what she described as an "untenable" situation.

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This follows recent reports that suggested Assange was going to be evicted from the Ecuadorian embassy in London after pushing President Lenin Moreno "over the edge".

Mohinderpal Sethi, a barrister at Littleton Chambers, told the BBC that giving Julian Assange a passport would not necessarily lead to him getting diplomatic immunity, although Ecuador could possibly take some measures to protect him if this was the case. While Swedish prosecutors dropped extradition requests related to sex crime allegations in May 2017, Assange fears that if British police detain him, USA prosecutors will immediately issue an extradition request over Wikileaks' decision to publish troves of secret United States military documents.

Assange also fears he will be extradited to the U.S. if he leaves the building over a sealed indictment ordering his arrest. He added that, as the South American authorities know, the only way for Assange to resolve is to leave the embassy and face the court.

WikiLeaks is an global non-profit journalistic organisation that publishes secret information, news leaks and classified media from anonymous sources.

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