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Assange seeks political asylum in Ecuador

Assange seeks political asylum in Ecuador

Wed June 20, 2012 4:13pm

WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange sought asylum overnight at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said in Quito the "government is examining the request", AFP reported.

On its Twitter account, WikiLeaks said Mr Assange was "under the protection of the Ecuadorian embassy in London."

Last week, the UK's Supreme Court dismissed an appeal from his lawyers asking to reopen an appeal into his extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for alleged sex crimes involving two women.

The 40-year-old Australian reportedly fears that if he is sent to Sweden, he will then be extradited to the US for prosecution over charges associated with his WikiLeaks website, which released hundreds of thousands of classified diplomatic cables revealing US secrets.

The Ecuadorian embassy in London released a statement confirming Mr Assange was seeking asylum there and "as a signatory to the United Nations Universal Declaration for Human Rights, with an obligation to review all applications for asylum, we have immediately passed his application on to the relevant department in Quito".

"While the department assesses Mr Assange's application, Mr Assange will remain at the embassy, under the protection of the Ecuadorian Government.

"The decision to consider Mr. Assange's application for protective asylum should in no way be interpreted as the Government of Ecuador interfering in the judicial processes of either the United Kingdom or Sweden."

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