In August, Britain told Ecuador that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would not be extradited if he left the country’s London embassy, where he has lived under asylum since 2012, Reuters quoted a senior Ecuadorian government official as saying on Thursday.
Inigo Salvador told reporters that in response to queries from Ecuador, London had said that it had not received any request to extradite Assange adding that his jail term in the UK for violating bail terms by seeking refuge in a foreign embassy would not exceed six months.
He noted that Assange’s lawyers had been informed about the British response but added that if Assange chose to stay on in the Ecuadorian mission the conditions of his presence there would change.
“Mr. Assange had a choice between turning himself in to British authorities with those assurances, or staying in the embassy of Ecuador, but given that the asylum had lasted six years with no signs of immediate resolution we were going to place certain rules,” Inigo Salvador said.
Julian Assange’s legal team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Ecuador argues that the rules are fully in line with international asylum standards.
In July, Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno said that Assange might leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London at any moment if his rights and international norms were guaranteed. Moreno stressed that he wanted to find a way out of the situation with Assange without problems for his country, adding that consultations with UK authorities and Assange's representatives were being held.
Julian Assange asked for asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012 after Britain requested his extradition to Sweden over allegations of sexual offenses.
Sweden dropped its investigation in May 2017, but Assange fears he will be extradited to the United States to face prosecution over WikiLeaks’ publication of leaked US military and diplomatic documents.
In December 2017, Ecuador granted Assange Ecuadorian citizenship and sought to name him as a member of the country’s diplomatic mission in Britain and Russia, which could have assured him safe passage to leave the embassy. Britain denied the request.