Assange asks Ecuador to give him political asylum
WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange has asked for political asylum at Ecuador's embassy in London and officials in the South American nation are considering his request, its foreign minister said yesterday.
"Ecuador is studying and analysing the request," Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino told reporters in Quito.
Mr Assange faces extradition to Sweden for questioning over alleged sex crimes against two women after Britain's top court said last week it had rejected a legal request to reconsider his case.
The former computer hacker gained international prominence in 2010 when WikiLeaks began releasing secret video footage and thousands of US diplomatic cables, many of them about Iraq and Afghanistan, in the largest leak of classified documents in US history.
The decision by Britain's Supreme Court ended his 18-month legal battle against extradition, and only a possible appeal to the European Court of Human Rights stands in the way of his transfer.
The British court rejected the 40-year-old Australian's argument that a European arrest warrant issued by Swedish prosecutors for his extradition was invalid.
In November 2010, Ecuador backed off an idea of inviting him to visit the country as President Rafael Correa accused him of breaking the law by releasing US documents.
Mr Assange, who has not been charged with any offences in Sweden and denies any wrongdoing, has argued that the case is politically motivated.