DHAKA: Ecuador has granted asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange two months after he took refuge in its London embassy while fighting extradition from the UK.
It said there were fears Assange’s human rights may be violated, reports the BBC.
Foreign minister Ricardo Patino accused the UK of making an ‘open threat’ to enter its embassy to arrest Assange.
Assange took refuge at the embassy in June to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he faces questioning over assault and rape claims, which he denies.
Announcing Ecuador’s decision, Patino said the country believed Assange’s fears of political persecution were ‘legitimate’.
He said the country was being loyal to its ‘tradition’ of protecting those who are vulnerable.
‘We trust that our friendship with the United Kingdom will remain intact,’ he added.
Outside Ecuador’s embassy in London, the BBC reported news was slowly spreading through Assange’s assembled supporters.
BBC said they were delighted, but the British government is insisting it changes nothing.
They will still seek to arrest him and they will not grant him safe passage. If he steps out, he will be arrested.
Assange entered the embassy after the UK’s Supreme Court dismissed Assange’s bid to reopen his appeal against extradition and gave him a two-week grace period before extradition proceedings could start.
BDST: 1855 HRS, AUG 16, 2012
Edited by Robab Rosan, Cultural Affairs Editor
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