Julian Assange: Ecuador asylum decision criticised

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LONDON. August 17. KAZINFORM The UK and Sweden have criticised Ecuador for granting political asylum to Julian Assange as the diplomatic row over what to do with him intensifies, BBC reported.

The Wikileaks founder took refuge at Ecuador's London embassy in June as he faced extradition to Sweden over sexual assault claims, which he denies.

The UK has said it will not allow him safe passage out of the country.

Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said he hoped talks with the UK would "overcome this".

He told BBC Mundo the UK should respect Ecuador's "sovereign decision" otherwise "we will use the alternatives under international law to demand the safe passage".

"We don't think it is reasonable that, after a sovereign government has made the decision of granting political asylum, a citizen is forced to live in an embassy for a long period," he added.

Mr Patino also claimed "other elements" were motivating Sweden's wish to extradite Mr Assange, and also tweeted  his "sincere appreciation" to the national assembly in Ecuador which passed a resolution condemning the "threat" to Mr Assange's political asylum.

Ecuador says Mr Assange's human rights might be violated if he was sent to Sweden to be questioned over allegations that he sexually assaulted two female ex-Wikileaks volunteers while he was in Stockholm to give a lecture in 2010.

The Wikileaks website has published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables that embarrassed several countries, particularly the US.

The 41-year-old Australian citizen, who claims the sexual contact was consensual, has said the allegations against him were politically motivated and he feared that, if extradited to Sweden, he would then be passed on to US authorities.

The Swedish foreign ministry has rejected Ecuadorean claims that the sexual assault allegations facing the Wikileaks founder were not the real reason the country wanted him extradited.

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