Julian Assange gets Ecuadorean passport

Julian Assange gets Ecuadorean passport

Julian Assange gets Ecuadorean passport

Ecuador has granted citizenship to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been living in asylum at the nation's embassy in London for more than five years.

Foreign Relations Minister María Fernanda Espinosa said in comments reported by state media that it was "unsustainable" for Mr. Assange to stay at the embassy indefinitely.

Assange also fears he will be extradited to the U.S. if he leaves the building over a sealed indictment ordering his arrest.

Espinosa said that in December, the Ecuadorian government requested diplomatic status for Assange, pointing out that his Ecuadorian naturalization reinforces his status as "protected".

The 46-year-old and his supporters believe the Swedish case was a trick to have him extradited to the United States and tried for publishing government secrets.

Assange also offended potential supporters in the Democratic Party by allowing WikiLeaks to become the conduit for emails hacked by Russian Federation from the Democratic National Committee that were meant to harm the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton. He added that Assange will not leave Ecuador's embassy while there are no security guarantees.

A statement by Mr Assange's legal team said: "The UN ruling, issued nearly two years ago, is crystal clear in its language".

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But Ecuadorian news outlet El Universo reports he has been issued a passport and an identity card by the nation, citing "reliable sources", as Assange himself shared a cryptic photo of himself wearing the Ecuadorian soccer team's jersey. Instead, the government released a statement today that did not mention that passport, but said that Ecuador has been complying with global laws while also protecting human rights, and has been seeking alternatives to Assange's situation. He maintains the charges are politically motivated and a way to extradite him to the United States for his whistleblowing activity.

But when his challenge to the extradition request was rejected, he jumped bail and became a fugitive, turning up at the Ecuadoran Embassy.

Mr Assange handed himself in to United Kingdom police on 7 December 2010, and was held for ten days before being released on bail, which he broke to claim Ecuadorian asylum in August 2012.

Assange responded to the warnings by tweeting: "If President Moreno wants to gag my reporting of human rights abuses in Spain he should say so explicitly-together with the legal basis".

Prosecutors there dropped the allegations in May 2017.

This sparks speculation that Assange is about to end his self-imposed exile.

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