Wikileaks founder Assange is naturalised Eucadorian now

Wikileaks founder Assange is naturalised Eucadorian now

Wikileaks founder Assange is naturalised Eucadorian now

Ecuador's Foreign Minister María Espinosa made the announcement that the 46-year-old Australian's naturalization had been accepted, adding that her country was still looking for "alternatives to resolve this case we have inherited".

The investigation has since been dropped but Assange refused to leave, claiming he fears arrest over breaching his bail because he might be extradited to the US.

The new citizenship status is not expected to make a big difference for Mr Assange in the near future, as any movement outside the embassy must still be reported to United Kingdom authorities. Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, took up residence in the embassy to dodge Swedish extradition over a rape accusation, though he has also expressed worry that the USA may request extradition over WikiLeaks' leaking of classified government documents.

Now Ecuadorian officials have announced that Assange has been granted citizenship following a request for naturalisation in December.

The UK Foreign Office on Wednesday said it had turned down a request from the Ecuadorian government to grant Assange diplomatic status.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange given Ecuadorian citizenship
In 2012 Assange requests, and is later granted political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London . He is still in the embassy, however, as he fears if he leaves he will be extradited to the US.

The issue was a likely incentive in the recent bid to end the legal and diplomatic row Assange created when he sought refuge at the embassy.

He was wanted in Sweden for questioning over rape accusations.

Earlier in the week Mr Assange posted a picture of himself in an Ecuadorean football shirt, fuelling rumours that he had been issued an Ecuadorean passport. What has changed is Assange's value to Ecuador as a political symbol.

There were reports in newspapers in Quito that he had recently been granted a national identity number. This appears to be just a first step to getting Assange out, though Ecuador has yet to say what next steps might look like.

"No solution will be achieved without global cooperation and the cooperation of the United Kingdom, which has also shown interest in seeking a way out", Espinosa said. But he found Assange to be a headache as well: In October 2016, Ecuador temporarily suspended Assange's internet access after WikiLeaks published documents from Clinton's presidential campaign.

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