Julian Assange Appears in Ecuador Database, Spurring Citizenship Speculation

Assange is now an Ecuadorian national

Ecuador has given citizenship to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as part of its efforts to allow him to leave the country's London embassy where he has been holed up for more than five years, Reuters reports.

"A person can not live in those conditions for ever", Ecuador's foreign minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa has been quoted as saying.

Assange has been living in Ecuador's embassy in London since he was granted asylum there in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning in a sexual molestation case.

According to WaPo, Ecuador's government has confirmed that Assange will remain in the embassy until there is a guarantee that he will be secure in leaving.

In response Espinosa said: "No solution will be achieved without global co-operation and the co-operation of the United Kingdom, which has also shown interest in seeking a way out". The US did not confirm whether it would request his extradition if he were arrested in the UK.

The new citizenship status is not expected to make a big difference for Mr Assange in the near future, as any movement outside the embassy must still be reported to United Kingdom authorities.

On Thursday, Steve Goldstein, the undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, said that "the decision to grant Julian Assange citizenship is a decision between Julian Assange and Ecuador".

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Earlier in the week Mr Assange posted a picture of himself in an Ecuadorean football shirt, fuelling rumours that he had been issued an Ecuadorean passport.

Assange was formally "naturalized" on December 12m 2017.

"She did not give details on how granting Assange citizenship might help in avoiding his arrest by British police".

Espinosa also noted that the current government had inherited the problem from its predecessor.

A United Nations panel concluded in 2016 that Assange was under arbitrary detention. He was succeeded by Lenín Moreno, who although an ally of Correa's has demonstrated little enthusiasm for Assange's cause.

Assange still faces arrest for breaching bail conditions if he steps outside the embassy. She mentioned "dialogue with the United Kingdom" and mediation by other states or global organizations that could "facilitate a just, lasting, and dignified resolution for all the involved parties".

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