WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Granted Political Asylum by Ecuador

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been granted political asylum by Ecuador, the country’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino announced Thursday.

However, the question remains how he will get out of the country’s embassy in London without trouble from officials, who have said they plan to stop his exit.

Assange is hoping to avoid being sent to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations of rape and sexual assault. He fears the country will then turn him over to the U.S.

Among the first to break the news on Twitter was @BBCBreaking.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office quickly shared their reaction to the government of Ecuador’s decision on Twitter.

According to the BBC, the UK may be able to revoke diplomatic protection from an embassy under domestic law. However, WikiLeaks has labeled that as impossible under international law.

WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson told the Agence France-Press on Thursday that she hopes “that the UK authorities are sensible enough not to enter the embassy without permission, which would risk upsetting diplomatic relations all over the world.”

Sweden’s government has told the Ecuadorian ambassador to its country that the asylum decision is “unacceptable,” per the Associated Press:

UK-based Citizen journalist James Albury has uploaded video of earlier demonstrations outside Ecuador’s embassy in London. According to Albury, Ecuadorian nationals were protesting the possible intrusion of British law enforcement into Ecuador’s sovereign territory.

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Assange first requested asylum from Ecuador June 19 and has resided at the country’s London embassy ever since.

This story initially cited @AntDeRosa as one of the first tweeters, but has been edited.

Alex Fitzpatrick contributed to this report.

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