Julian Assange granted citizenship by Ecuador

Ecuador football shirt

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

Ecuador's Foreign Minister on Thursday confirmed that her country granted citizenship to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in December.

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.

The Stockholm appeals court in September rejects a request by Assange to lift the arrest warrant in light of the United Nations panel's non-binding legal opinion. Since August 2012, the 46-year-old Australian computer programmer was living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, expressing concern that if he leaves the embassy he could end up being extradited to the U.S., where he fears facing the death penalty, according to CNN.

Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation in May previous year, but Assange still stays indoors, fearful that he will be arrested for breaching his bail the minute he emerges from the embassy.

"The UK should not permit itself to be intimidated by the Trump administration's public threats to "take down" Mr Assange".

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

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Assange has compared living inside the embassy - a gardenless apartment in London's plush Knightsbridge district, opposite Harrods department store - to life on a space station.

August 16, 2012: Ecuador grants Assange political asylum.

He make a speech, calling for the government to 'drop the witch-hunt against WikiLeaks.

He was wanted in Sweden for questioning over rape accusations.

March 9, 2017: Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage is spotted leaving the Embassy.

Still, that did not deter Attorney General Jeff Sessions from calling Assange's arrest "a priority" in April, telling reporters: "We are going to step up our effort and already are stepping up our efforts on all leaks".

In March, Swedish prosecutors offer to question Assange in London. The Australian became an Ecuadorian citizen on December 12.

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