Ecuador renews call for safe passage for Assange

08 september 2012, 14:29
Ecuador repeated demands Thursday that Britain grant safe passage to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is holed up in Quito's London embassy in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden, AFP reports.

Ecuador has "carefully studied the case" and demands "that Great Britain respect the Ecuadoran decision" to grant asylum to Assange, Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said during a speech to indigenous and peasant leaders.

Britain has vowed to arrest Assange if he leaves the embassy.

The 41-year-old Australian took shelter in the embassy in June after exhausting legal appeals against extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on sexual assault allegations.

Assange fears Sweden will hand him over to the United States, where he has said he could face prosecution and even the death penalty for treason over his website's release of a trove of secret embassy cables and war reports from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Tuesday, Patino said talks with London "will resume this week" to try to resolve the impasse, after Britain had earlier said it hoped to restart negotiations as soon as possible.

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