Reuters & Associated Press
Updated at 4:17 p.m. ET: WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange has taken refuge in the Ecuador Embassy in London and has asked for political asylum, Ecuador’s foreign minister said on Tuesday.
“Ecuador is studying and analyzing the request,” Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino told reporters in the capital Quito.
The Ecuador Embassy issued the following statement:
This afternoon Mr Julian Assange arrived at the Ecuadorian Embassy seeking political asylum from the Ecuadorian government.
As a signatory to the United Nations Universal Declaration for Human Rights, with an obligation to review all applications for asylum, we have immediately passed his application on to the relevant department in Quito.
While the department assesses Mr Assange’s application, Mr Assange will remain at the embassy, under the protection of the Ecuadorian Government.
The decision to consider Mr Assange’s application for protective asylum should in no way be interpreted as the Government of Ecuador interfering in the judicial processes of either the United Kingdom or Sweden.
Assange faces extradition to Sweden for questioning over alleged sex crimes after Britain’s top court said last week that it had rejected a legal request to reconsider his case.