WikiLeaks Founder Seeks Asylum in Ecuador

Posted June 20th, 2012 at 6:20 am (UTC-5)
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British authorities say WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is “beyond the reach of police” now that he has sought refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The 40-year-old Australian entered the embassy Tuesday.

Ricardo Patino, Ecuador's foreign minister, told reporters Tuesday in the capital, Quito, that it was considering Assange's request for political asylum in the South American nation.

“I don't have any other statements to make beyond the ones that I've already presented. It is a very delicate matter and I believe that it is important for the government of Ecuador analyzes, evaluates and studies the application and, after that, we can formally talk about this issue. Thanks very much.”

Britain's Foreign Office says it will seek to work with Ecuador “to resolve this situation as soon as possible.”

Assange is wanted in Sweden for questioning about allegations he sexually assaulted two women during a visit to Sweden in 2010. He was arrested in London at Sweden's request.

Assange has been fighting extradition to Sweden to face the charges, but Britain's high court last week rejected his application to reopen his appeal against extradition.

Assange, who denies the allegations against him, can still make one last appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

The WikiLeaks website gained international notoriety when it released hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. documents, including diplomatic cables held by the State Department about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.