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12 Jan 2018

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange given Ecuador citizenship

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is now a citizen of Ecuador, which is also helping him reach a "dignified and just" solution with Britain.

Assange has been holed up in Ecuador's London embassy for over five years now, since he was given asylum there in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over charges of rape.

Read on for more.

In context

Ecuador grants citizenship to WikiLeaks whistleblower Julian Assange
Julian Assange accused of sexual misconduct in two cases

Rape allegations

Julian Assange accused of sexual misconduct in two cases

It's August 2010. Julian Assange visits Sweden to attend a Social Democrats' Brotherhood Movement seminar. He has sex on the event night with a woman who helped arrange his trip.

Six days later, he has sex with another woman he met at the seminar.

Both allege that what started consensually eventually became non-consensual.

An arrest warrant is issued against him for rape and molestation.


Ecuador is exploring other solutions in dialogue with the UK

Ecuador has "well-founded fears about possible risks to his (Assange's) life and integrity, not necessarily by the UK but by third party states." It is exploring other solutions in dialogue with the UK, reported Reuters.

However, it is not yet clear how giving Assange a citizenship would help in avoiding his arrest by British police.

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No diplomatic immunity for Julian Assange, says UK

Meanwhile, Britain on Thursday shot down Ecuador's request to grant Assange a diplomatic status. Though Sweden dropped its investigation of sexual misconduct allegations against him in 2015, Assange is still subject to arrest in Britain for jumping bail and therefore can't leave the embassy.


Assange: A champion of free speech or a cyber criminal?

Assange is most famously known for WikiLeaks expose, one of the largest information leaks in American history.

He made public innumerable classified military and diplomatic documents in 2010, exposing highly critical American appraisals of powerful international leaders.

The world is still divided on whether to hail him as a cyber hero for exposing government power abuses or a criminal who undermined his nation's security.

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