Ecuador yet to decide on Wikileaks founder’s asylum

August 15th, 2012 - 3:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Quito, Aug 15 (IANS) Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has denied on Twitter that his country had already decided to grant political asylum to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

“The rumour about Assange’s asylum is false. There is as yet no decision on the issue,” Correa wrote on Twitter. “I am expecting a report from the Foreign Ministry.”

On Monday, Correa told a TV channel that he would meet Wednesday with the team in charge of legal analysis of Assange’s case to continue examining the request before making a responsible and independent decision, reported Xinhua.

British newspaper The Guardian reported on its website Tuesday that Ecuador was set to grant Assange asylum, citing a diplomatic source in the Ecuadorian capital Quito.

“The only spokesmen on the Julian Assange issue are President Rafael Correa and Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino. Ecuador is still studying the request, the authorities will make an announcement,” Deputy Foreign Minister Marco Albuja said on Twitter.

Having taken refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since June 19, Australian-born Assange pleaded with the South American country for political asylum after his legal team’s attempts to fight his extradition to Sweden failed.

Assange is wanted in Sweden for sexual assault accusations brought against him by two women.

But he insists that the Swedish authorities actually plan to hand him over to the US, which wants to try him on charges of espionage for leaking thousands of secret US diplomatic cables. If convicted, he could face death penalty.

Correa had earlier said his government would make a decision on the issue once the London Olympic Games was over.

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