Will continue sheltering Assange in London embassy: Ecuador

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Quito, Feb 7 (IANS) Ecuador will continue to provide refuge to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in its embassy in London, the country’s Foreign Minister said on Wednesday.

After a meeting between President Lenin Moreno and foreign correspondents, Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa said that statements by the US Attorney and a CIA director, which hinted at Assange’s possible arrest, make them apprehensive of his safety, reports Xinhua news agency.

Espinosa added that her country respects human rights and is a signatory to international regulations related to asylum and refugee protection, which has led it to provide asylum to Assange since 2012.

Meanwhile, British authorities on Wednesday retained an order to arrest Assange if he leaves the embassy, despite the fact that in May 2017 Sweden shelved the extradition request for alleged sex crimes against him.

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Judge Emma Arbuthnot, at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court, ruled Assange must be held accountable for violating the terms of his conditional release when he took refuge at the diplomatic mission.

Speaking to the media, the Ecuadorian President had stressed that his country has continued to provide protection to Assange although they were not entirely comfortable with the situation, and considered him an “inherited problem”.

–IANS

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