QUITO: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has requested asylum in Ecuador, Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said here Tuesday, adding that the request would be considered.
“Julian Assange has requested political asylum at the diplomatic mission of Ecuador in London,” Patino told reporters. “The government is examining the request.”
On its Twitter account, WikiLeaks said Assange had requested political asylum and was “under the protection of the Ecuadorian embassy in London.”
The development came just days after Britain’s Supreme Court rejected a bid by Assange to reopen his appeal against extradition to Sweden over alleged sex crimes. Assange has remained under house arrest in England for over 500 days.
Ecuador, whose coup surviving President Rafael Correa had been interviewed by Assange recently for his show “The World Tomorrow”, had offered the Wikileaks founder asylum as far back as November 2010.
Then Deputy Foreign Minister Kintto Lucas said Ecuador’s government wanted to invite Assange to the country to give him the opportunity to speak publicly.
He said Ecuador was concerned about some of the alleged American activities revealed by Wikileaks.