Ecuador Readies Assange Asylum Decision

Posted August 16th, 2012 at 9:40 am (UTC-5)
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Ecuador has granted asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who took refuge in the country's embassy in London nearly two months ago.

Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino announced the decision, which comes amid diplomatic tensions between Britain and Ecuador.

Ecuadorian officials have accused Britain of threatening to storm Ecuador's embassy to arrest Assange. Britain has warned of using a law that would allow it to revoke the embassy's diplomatic status.

Assange has remained in the Ecuadorian embassy since late June as he attempts to keep Britain from extraditing him to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning in connection with sexual assault allegations. He has denied those accusations.

Britain says it will not allow Assange safe passage out of the country, and that it is obligated to extradite him to Sweden

Outside the Ecuadorian embassy Thursday, British police tussled with protesters chanting slogans in support of Assange. At least three protesters were arrested.

Assange fears Sweden could send him to the United States to face possible charges related to the 2010 release of hundreds of thousands of classified documents, including diplomatic cables held by the U.S. State Department about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.