Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Julian Assange has just been granted citizenship in Ecuador

Julian Assange has just been granted citizenship in Ecuador

Earlier on Thursday, Britain said that it had a refused a request by Ecuador to grant Assange diplomatic status, which would have granted him special legal immunity and the right to safe passage under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Updated | Ecuador says it has granted nationality to Julian Assange after the British government denied a request to grant the WikiLeaks founder diplomatic status.

Assange, who angered the U.S. government when his anti-secrecy organization published troves of classified documents obtained from a U.S. Army intelligence analyst in 2010, sought refuge in the Ecuadoran Embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was sought in an investigation of alleged sexual offenses.

Referencing a 2016 UN ruling that said Assange was being "arbitrarily detained", WikiLeaks responded: "The UN ruling, issued nearly two years ago, is crystal clear in its language". Prosecutors there dropped the case past year, but Assange remained in the embassy after British police said he would still be arrested for violating bail conditions.

At the beginning of January, it was reported that USA lawyers who worked on Donald J. Trump's presidential campaign were working to remove the threat of arrest placed on Mr. Assange by federal authorities.

Two allegations - rape and molestation - are made against him.

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Assange, who has received numerous visitors to his modest quarters in the embassy, ranging from Nigel Farage to Lady Gaga, has described the period since his initial arrest as a "terrible injustice". The US attorney general, Jeff Sessions, said last May that Assange's arrest was now a "priority".

February 2015 his lawyers petition Sweden's Supreme Court to quash the arrest warrant. Those original allegations have since been dropped.

October 12, 2015: Metropolitan Police end the 24-hour guard at the Embassy.

The United States still wants to prosecute Julian Assange under the Espionage Act of 1917.

June 19, 2017: Assange cancels a "special announcement" he had planned for the fifth anniversary of his stay at the Embassy. The Ecuadorian government has granted him political asylum.

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