Ecuador seeks mediator to resolve 'untenable' Assange standoff

Ecuador seeks mediator to resolve 'untenable' Assange standoff

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been hiding for more than five years at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, has received a civilian ID from the South American country, DPA and Reuters reported.

The Australian lives in a small office in the Ecuadorian embassy after Quito gave him asylum in 2012 when Sweden was investigating him for sex crimes.

"A person can not live in those conditions for ever", Ecuador's foreign minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa has been quoted as saying.

According to media reports from Ecuador earlier this week, Assange has been registered to the province of Pichincha, which covers the capital Quito.

Per The Guardian, Ecuadorian officials made the request in hopes that if Assange was certified as one of their diplomats - reports indicate he already has Ecuadorian citizenship - he could finally leave the embassy without fear of being arrested for violating United Kingdom bail conditions by fleeing there in the first place.

On Wednesday, Assange tweeted a picture of himself wearing the Ecuadorian national soccer team's official jersey.

South Africa ranks 3rd in Africa on the 2018 Henley Passport Index
The ranking , released today, takes into account how many countries can be visited without applying for a visa . On the global ranking , Germany is followed by Singapore with visa-free access to 176 countries.

But he can only leave the embassy by submitting himself to the judiciary, the British news agency PA quoted a Foreign Office spokesman as saying.

Mohinderpal Sethi, a barrister at Littleton Chambers, told the BBC that giving Julian Assange a passport would not necessarily lead to him getting diplomatic immunity, although Ecuador could possibly take some measures to protect him if this was the case.

Assange rose to worldwide attention in 2010 after WikiLeaks published leaked military information provided by former United States Army soldier Chelsea Manning, which prompted the U.S. government to launch a criminal investigation into the publisher.

He had been wanted on assault claims in Sweden, which have been dropped, but now fears extradition to the US. In 2016, a United Nations panel concluded that Assange had been "arbitrarily detained" and should be allowed to walk free.

"Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice", the FCO spokesperson said.

WikiLeaks is an global non-profit journalistic organisation that publishes secret information, news leaks and classified media from anonymous sources.

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