Julian Assange bid for diplomatic status rejected
Julian Assange still faces the threat of arrest if he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy in London after the Foreign Office (FCO) turned down a request to grant the WikiLeaks founder diplomatic status.
Julian Assange still faces the threat of arrest if he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy in London after the Foreign Office (FCO) turned down a request to grant the WikiLeaks founder diplomatic status. Mr Assange, 46, has been living in the embassy for five-and-a-half years after being granted political asylum as he fought sex-related allegations in Sweden. Ecuador is seeking mediation to resolve the impasse. An FCO spokesperson said: The Government of Ecuador recently requested diplomatic status for Mr Assange here in the UK. The UK did not grant that request, nor are we in talks with Ecuador on this matter. Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice. Last May, Swedens Director of Public Prosecution Marianne Ny dropped the investigation into rape claims against Mr Assange, but he fears he will be extradited to the US if he leaves the building and that there is a sealed indictment ordering his arrest. He could face trial in the US after leaking thousands of secret military and diplomatic documents on Wikileaks. The Metropolitan Police Service has insisted the Wikileaks fugitive will still be arrested for failing to surrender to the UK courts being obliged to execute a European Arrest Warrant if he leaves the embassy. Ecuador`s foreign minister, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, said: No solution will be achieved without international cooperation and the cooperation of the United Kingdom, which has also shown interest in seeking a way out. A United Nations panel concluded in 2016 that Mr Assange was under arbitrary detention. A statement by Mr Assange`s legal team said: The UN ruling, issued almost two years ago, is crystal clear in its language. Mr Assange is unlawfully and arbitrarily detained by the UK authorities and must be released. The UK should not permit itself to be intimidated by the Trump administration`s public threats to `take down` Mr Assange.