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Ecuador Offers UK Compromise Over Sending Assange to Sweden

Common Dreams staff

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange gestures as he appears to speak from the balcony of Ecuador's embassy, where he is taking refuge in London August 19, 2012. (REUTERS/Chris Helgren)

Ecuador has asked the British Foreign Office if Julian Assange could be sent to face accusations in Sweden while remaining under its protection.

Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said Saturday that he was considering a transfer as an alternative for Assange to "remain under our protection while also satisfying the demands of the Swedish justice system".

Assange has been living in Ecuador's diplomatic mission in London since mid-June to avoid extradition to Sweden. Britain has said he will be taken into custody if he leaves the mission.  

Assange fears if he is taken to Sweden, he will be turned over to the United States where he could face prosecution over the release of leaked Iraq and Afghanistan war reports and diplomatic cables.

In London, the British Foreign Office refused to comment on the Ecuadoran proposal.

A spokesman said: "We've made our position very clear on Mr Assange, mainly that he has exhausted the option of appeal and we are under a binding obligation to extradite him to Sweden and we have to carry out this obligation and we fully intend to do so."

Agence France Presse reports:

Patino hinted to "new" developments in the Swedish case, saying "several elements of proof have been dismissed," though he declined to provide further details.

He stressed that the best option, in Ecuador's view, would be for Britain to grant Assange safe passage.

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