Julian Assange, the founder of the WikiLeaks website, is
prepared to stay holed up inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London for as long as
five years if necessary in order to avoid extradition to Sweden to face what he
says are politically motivated allegations of sexual assault, the Ecuadorean
foreign minister said Monday.
Assange is accused of sexually assaulting two women on separate occasions in Stockholm in August 2010. He was arrested in London in December of that year, which began a series of legal appeals by his attorneys to block his extradition to Sweden. But those appeals, which went all the way up to Britain's Supreme Court, were denied.
Britain says it is duty-bound to extradite Assange to Sweden to face allegations of rape, but Ecuador has offered the white-haired Australian sanctuary if he can be guaranteed safe passage to the South American country.
Ricardo Patino, the Ecuadorean foreign minister, met with his British counterpart, William Hague, for 45 minutes Monday morning to try to resolve the standoff. The meeting was cordial, but the British government said that "no substantive progress was made." Patino told reporters that Assange was willing to stay inside the embassy even for five years if that's what it took.
"The Ecuadorean government will continue to ensure that he continues with the protection we have given him under asylum in our country," Patino said, adding: "The Ecuadorean government maintains that the reasons for which Ecuador granted asylum are still relevant, and therefore there is going to be no change in his circumstances."
(c)2013 the Los Angeles Times
Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
Most Popular Stories
- 5 Potential Snags to the Bipartisan Budget Deal
- Adam Levine Wins Big as 'The Voice' Crowns Champ
- Archer Daniels Midland Moving HQ to Chicago
- From Fiscal Cliff to Female Head of GM: 2013 in Review
- Budget Deal on Brink of Passing in Senate
- U.S. Home Construction Hammers Out 5-Year High
- Broadband Policies Could Mean 11,000 Jobs
- William Morris Endeavor Eats up IMG
- Wine Collector Convicted of Making Fake Vintages
- Senate Sends Bipartisan Budget Plan to President