Ecuador grants Julian Assange citizenship

World       by Mahmood Idrees | Published

Julian Assange, who has been living in Ecuador's embassy in London for the past five years, is officially being granted Ecuadorian citizenship.

After a year in which Ecuador's president has spoken out against Assange, Ecuador's Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa said she hoped to find a solution to his dilemma.

"The government of recently requested diplomatic status for here in the U.K.", a spokesman for the the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office said Wednesday evening, us reported.

At the time, Ecuador said the United Kingdom should guarantee him "safe passage" to Ecuador if he leaves the embassy.

So it appears as if Assange will likely still be confined to the walls of the Ecuadorian embassy in the United Kingdom, of course he could just leave and surrender to authorities. She added that Ecuador was looking to resolve the impasse in a "dignified" way.

Assange has refused to step outside the embassy and claimed he fears being extradited to the United States, for WikiLeaks' publication of leaked secret USA military documents and diplomatic cables in 2010. While Sweden has at least temporarily dropped that investigation, British officials say they'd still arrest him on charges of bail jumping.

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Mr Assange, an Australian citizen, made headlines in 2010 when his organisation leaked United States military helicopter footage, which showed the killing of civilians in Iraq. The daily reported that Assange also may have been issued a passport.

But a year ago, the Australian, 46, angered Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno by tweeting support for Catalan separatists. U.S. intelligence agencies believe Russian military intelligence used WikiLeaks and other sites to release the emails it hacked from the Democratic National Committee and top Democrats.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said that arresting Assange is a priority. Shortly before the 2016 USA election, WikiLeaks accused Ecuadorian officials in the London embassy of temporarily cutting off the former computer hacker's internet access for publishing an array of emails belonging to Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton's campaign in a bid to impact the vote.

WikiLeaks disclosed emails that led to embarrassing media coverage for Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton.

'It seems he doesn't wash properly, ' a source told The Times. Assange later taunted after Lasso's loss that he would "cordially invite Lasso to leave Ecuador within 30 days".

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