Ecuador on Thursday granted political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the U.K. stressed that it will not allow him to leave for the Central American country.


Wikileaks website founder Julian Assange leaves The Supreme Court on February 2, 2012 in London, England. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Wikileaks website founder Julian Assange leaves The Supreme Court on February 2, 2012 in London, England. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Ecuador on Thursday granted political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who sought refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, but the U.K. stressed that it will not allow him to leave for the Central American country.

Assange has been at the embassy for the past 59 days after a British court ruled that he should be extradited to Sweden to face questioning over alleged sex crimes.

Assange, however, has said that the allegations against him are politically motivated and are related to his website’s releasing of hundreds of thousands of sensitive U.S. diplomatic cables. He has expressed fears of being sent to the U.S. to face charges relating to the cables.

President Rafael Correa’s office said Thursday that there is “strong evidence” Assange’s extradition to Sweden “could jeopardize [his] safety” and said he could be sent to a third country.

Ecuador Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said in a statement that he held talks with the British government and said the U.K. did not give an assurance that he would not be sent to a third country after being extradited to Sweden.

The British Foreign Office expressed disappointment over Ecuador’s decision and said the U.K. is “under a binding obligation to extradite him to Sweden” and it will “carry out that obligation.”

“The Ecuadorian Government’s decision this afternoon does not change that,” it added. “We remain committed to a negotiated solution that allows us to carry out our obligations under the Extradition Act.”

The Metropolitan Police have previously said they would arrest Assange as soon as he steps off the Ecuador embassy’s premises for breaking his bail conditions.

Patino said that British police were looking to “raid the Ecuadorian embassy in London” and strongly rejected the idea.

 

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*Patricia Lohan *

Helping you find peace in your life.........*Sacred Sound Healing Practitioner * BodyMind Balancing Therapist * Reiki Master * Yoga Teacher

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