Mexico City, Aug 2:
Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa Wednesday confirmed his country’s decision to grant political asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been living at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the past two years.
“This could be resolved tomorrow if the United Kingdom gives him safe conduct,” Correa was quoted as saying on Tuesday by Mexico’s state-run Notimex news agency, referring to the pass Assange would need to leave the embassy without being arrested to face extradition.
Assange told a press conference Monday that he “will be leaving the embassy soon” after media reported that he was suffering from a potentially life threatening heart defect, a chronic lung condition and high blood pressure.
The 43-year-old Australian fled to the embassy in June 2012 after a British court ruled to extradite him to Sweden over alleged sex crimes.
He said he considered Sweden’s accusations a pretext to eventually send him to the US, which is seeking to get hold of him for leaking classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010.
Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said during the press conference in London that it was time to free Assange and respect his rights.
“This situation must come to an end. Two years is simply too long,” Patino said, adding that Assange would be offered continued “protection”.