WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange granted Ecuadorian nationality

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange granted Ecuadorian nationality

Ecuador's Foreign Minister, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, certainly seems keen to have Mr Assange out of the embassy. The Wikileaks founder has been claiming political asylum at the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012.

It was reported Wednesday by an Ecuadoran daily that Quito had granted Assange a passport and national ID card, prompting speculation that he could be offered citizenship and diplomatic status, allowing him to leave the country.

Assange rose to worldwide attention in 2010 after WikiLeaks published leaked military information provided by former United States Army soldier Chelsea Manning, which prompted the USA government to launch a criminal investigation into the publisher.

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Ecuador's Foreign Ministry in a statement said it was seeking to resolve Assange's situation, without making reference to the citizenship issue.

Britain said earlier on Thursday it had refused a request by Ecuador for Assange to be given diplomatic status, a spokesman for Britain's Foreign Office said.

Swedish prosecutors have dropped their investigation into allegations against Mr Assange, but he fears he will be extradited to the United States if he leaves the building and that there is a sealed indictment ordering his arrest.

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Although Swedish authorities have since dropped their extradition warrant, British officials have signaled their intent on arresting him if he leaves Ecuador's diplomatic compound in London.

While the grant of a passport has not been officially confirmed, it is seen as part of a process to get Assange out of the United Kingdom by giving him a role at the embassy that confers diplomatic immunity. The Ecuadorean government has since insisted that "nothing has happened". Moreno issued a public demand that Assange not interfere in the politics of "nations that are our friends".

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Assange, who denies the rape allegations, fears that if he is arrested he will be handed over to the United States to face prosecution over WikiLeaks' publication of thousands of classified military and diplomatic documents in one of the largest information leaks in USA history.

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