Ecuador grants Julian Assange political asylum

The Wikieaks founder is on the run from Swedish prosecutors on a sex abuse case

By , IDG News Service |  IT Management, Julian Assange, Wikileaks

A placard is held by a supporter of Julian Assange outside the Ecuador embassy in west London

A placard is held by a supporter of Julian Assange outside the Ecuador embassy in west London, August 16, 2012. Ecuador has granted political asylum to WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange, Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said on Thursday, a day after the British government threatened to storm the Ecuadorean embassy in London to arrest the former hacker.

REUTERS/Olivia Harris

Ecuador has decided to grant Julian Assange political asylum, in a move meant to prevent the WikiLeaks founder from being extradited to Sweden where he is suspected of committing sexual offenses.

Assange decided to take refuge in Ecuador's U.K. embassy -- located in London's Belgravia district, close to Hyde Park -- in June after the U.K. Supreme Court denied his extradition appeal, allowing for him to be sent to Sweden to be questioned by the police.

The U.K. Foreign Office issued a statement saying that it was disappointed that Ecuador had offered political asylum to Assange.

Under British law, with Assange having exhausted all options of appeal, authorities are under a binding obligation to extradite him to Sweden, according to the statement. It will carry out that obligation, and the Ecuadorian government's decision on Thursday does not change that, the statement said.

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