The government of Ecuador has granted a status of citizen to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after he lived in asylum for more than five years at the country’s embassy since 2012.
Ecuador subsequently requested the UK to recognise Assange as a diplomatic agent, which would give him immunity under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations which has been rejected.
Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa on Thursday said that a request by Assange seeking naturalisation has been accepted She explained, “What naturalisation does is provide the asylum seeker another layer of protection”
Assange, who had been wanted by Sweden in a sex -related case. had been given asylum in 2012 after he sought refuge in the Ecuador embassy in London to avoid extradition to Sweden. Having been unsuccessful in his challenge to the extradition proceedings, he breached his bail and absconded.He also had fears that Britain would extradite him to US for facing cases related to leaking of classified State Department documents.
The founder of WikiLeaks also posted a picture of himself wearing a yellow Ecuadorean national soccer team jersey on Twitter.
The British Foreign Office has also issued a statement saying that it has turned down his request for diplomatic status.