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WikiLeaks announced via Twitter on the evening of June 19 (19:40 local time) that Julian Assange has requested political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
This comes after the UK Supreme Court refused a submission to reopen his case on June 14. Julian Assange has spent 560 days under house arrest without charge. His extradition to Sweden is set between June 28 and July 7.
Mr Assange will remain at the embassy under the protection of the Ecuadorian government while they process his request.
In his statement to the Diplomatic Mission of Ecuador, Julian Assange commented on his abandonment by his home country, Australia, as well as the threat of the death penalty in the U.S.
Ecuador offered political asylum to Julian Assange in November 2010. At that time, Vice Chancellor Kintto Lucas stated, "We are open to grant him Ecuadorian residency, without any kind of problem or any kind of conditions." (President Rafeal Correa afterwards stated the offer was not official.)
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa was a guest on Julian Assange's talk show "The World Tomorrow" this past May. The full interview is available online in English, Spanish, Italian, Russian, and Arabic.
Updates will be added as they become available.
Mr Assange's mother, Christine, has come out in support of his decision to seek asylum, saying it shows clear thinking, but also comments she had no prior notice.
SwedenvsAssange tweeted the following in support of his decision:
You can only request political asylum if you are free to walk into an Embassy. In Sweden Assange would not be able to exercise his right.
RT America has also reported on the news. Watch their coverage below:
Media currently outside Ecuadorian embassy waiting for Julian Assange (image via RT London).
[UPDATE: 21:25 BST] Julian Assange's U.S. based lawyer Michael Ratner commented on the request via Twitter:
Julian's asylum not about questioning in Sweden. Facing life in solitary in US with no comm.for exposing war crimes, What Would You Do???
Sweden easier. Smaller. lawyers in UK remarkable. More public support. He would be in jail in Sweden, US lodges warrant and he never is out