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01:17 GMT +3 hours22 December 2014
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Ecuador Offers to Move Assange to Sweden Under Protection

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Ecuador may ask the British authorities to allow the transfer of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from its embassy in London to Sweden where he could respond to alleged sex charges against him, Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said.

Ecuador may ask the British authorities to allow the transfer of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from its embassy in London to Sweden where he could respond to alleged sex charges against him, Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said.

Assange, 41, has been hiding at the Ecuadorian Embassy since June to avoid his extradition to Sweden, where he faces a case in a rape trial that he calls politically motivated.

Ecuador granted Assange political asylum on August 15 but he still faces arrest the minute he steps out of the embassy building.

“We could get authorization to transfer Assange to our embassy in Sweden so that the case can proceed there with the protection of Ecuador while meeting the needs of Swedish justice,” Chilean La Segunda newspaper quoted Patino as saying on Friday.

Patino said there was also an option to allow Assange to testify before Swedish prosecutors inside the embassy building in London.

Assange and his supporters fear that he may be extradited from Sweden to the United States, where he could face espionage charges and possible death penalty.

Assange’s whistleblowing site WikiLeaks made an enemy of the U.S. government in 2010, when it leaked hundreds of thousands of American diplomatic cables. The U.S. authorities have not ruled out requesting his extradition from Sweden.

Patino said on Friday that he was planning to meet with British Foreign Secretary William Hague in New York next week to discuss the Assange situation.

“We believe that the democratic governments will be able to discuss everything and find a diplomatic solution to this case,” the Ecuadorian minister said.