Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Seeking Asylum in Ecuador

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks at a news conference in London, February 27, 2012 (Photo: Reuters/Finbarr O'Reilly)

Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Seeking Asylum in Ecuador

Assange taking refuge in Ecuador embassy

WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange has 'taken refuge' in the Ecuador embassy, Tuesday evening in London. Assange is seeking political asylum in the country according to Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino.

"I can confirm I arrived at the Ecuadorean embassy and sought diplomatic sanctuary and political asylum," Assange said in a statement.

"This application has been passed to the ministry of foreign affairs in the capital Quito. I am grateful to the Ecuadorean ambassador and the government of Ecuador for considering my application."

Officials in Ecuador are considering the request.

"Ecuador is studying and analyzing the request," stated Patino.

Wikileaks is now tweeting that in 2010 Ecuador had offered Assange residency in the country, according to BBC news.

Last week, Britain's high court refused a legal request to reconsider Assange's extradition to Sweden for questioning over alleged sex crimes. Assange has maintained that the charges and subsequent extradition are politically motivated and aimed at silencing his governmental transparency work.

The international group Friends of Wikileaks sent an open letter to the Human Rights Court this week, asking for it to stop the "unlawful detention" of Assange.

The letter stated that Assange has been under house arrest in the UK without charge for nearly two years.

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Associated Press: Ecuador says Wikileaks founder seeking asylum

Ecuador's foreign minister says Wilikeaks chief Julian Assange has taken refuge in the South American nation's embassy in London and is seeking political asylum.

Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino says Ecuador is weighing the request.

The move comes less than a week after Britain's Supreme Court rejected Assange's bid to reopen his extradition case.

Assange is wanted for questioning in Sweden after two women accused him of sexual misconduct during a visit to the country in mid-2010.

His legal struggle to stay in Britain has dragged on for the better part of two years, clouding his website's work exposing the world's secrets.

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RT: 'Friends of WikiLeaks' fight for Assange's rights in European Court

The international group, whose goal is to promote WikiLeaks and "defends its mission," has sent an open letter to the Human Rights Court, asking for it to stop the "unlawful detention" of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The network, which boasts members from around the world, points out that Assange has been under house arrest in the UK without charge for nearly two years, and claims that his extradition to Sweden for questioning about an alleged sex crime will prolong his detention.

"If he is extradited to Sweden, we know that he awaits incommunicado detention for an indefinite amount of time. For a man who has not been charged with any crime, we consider this arbitrary and unlawful detention and thus a violation of European Convention on Human Rights which the ECHR aims to uphold," the group's letter states.

They also raise concerns over the case possibly setting a dangerous precedent.

"If Mr Assange is extradited under the EAW, it will establish a dangerous precedent. It will make it possible for every citizen detained in the EU to be extradited to another country without a charge or any evidence against them, which we consider a more than distressing development."

The group closes its letter with an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, with the hope that the ECRH will find "that it needs to accept Julian Assange's appeal and deny his extradition in order to ensure his human rights are respected."

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