Ecuador has granted citizenship to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who sought refuge in the country’s embassy in London over five years ago to avoid arrest. Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa said on Thursday that his citizenship was granted on December 12, 2017 after Assange, an Australian, requested it on Sept. 16.
“Assange made the request after having lived about five and half years under the jurisdiction of the Ecuadorian state,’’ the minister said. Britain said it had rejected a request for diplomatic status for Assange, after he was given a passport by Ecuador.
Meanwhile, the British government confirmed that Ecuador had recently asked for diplomatic status for Assange. “The UK did not grant that request, nor are we in talks with Ecuador on this matter. Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice,’’ the British Foreign Office said in a statement.
Assange posted a photograph of himself posing in Ecuador’s national football team shirt on Wednesday, appearing to suggest that his legal status had changed.