WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange granted citizenship by Ecuador
QUITO, Ecuador — Ecuador has granted citizenship to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after more than five years of living in asylum at the nation’s embassy in London, officials announced Thursday.
Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa said officials accepted Assange’s request for naturalization in December, and they continue to look for a long-term resolution to a situation that has vexed officials since 2012.
„What naturalization does is provide the asylum seeker another layer of protection,” Espinosa said.
Ecuador gave Assange asylum after he sought refuge in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden for investigation of sex-related claims. Sweden dropped the case, but Assange has remained in the embassy because he is still subject to arrest in Britain for jumping bail. He also fears a possible U.S. extradition request based on his leaking of classified State Department documents.
The Australian-born Assange posted a photograph of himself wearing a yellow Ecuadorean national soccer team jersey on Instagram Wednesday and his name now appears in the Andean country’s national registry.