13:28 GMT +316 October 2019
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    A supporter of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange holds banners outside the Ecuadorian embassy in London as he marks three years since Assange claimed asylum in the embassy on June 19, 2015

    Ecuador Denies Asking Sweden to Grant Assange Asylum

    © AFP 2019 / Justin Tallis
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    Ecuador denied on Monday reports that it had requested Sweden to grant WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange asylum before permitting Swedish authorities to question him on sexual assault allegations.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) On Friday, Swedish justice officials told local media that Ecuador set asylum for Assange as a precondition for his long-awaited questioning over allegations of rape and sexual assault in 2010.

    "At no point has the Republic of Ecuador asked the Kingdom of Sweden to grant Mr. Assange asylum," the Ecuadorian embassy to the United Kingdom said in a statement published on its website.

    It added that "on no occasion has any representative of the Kingdom of Sweden presented themselves at the embassy in relation to the Assange matter."

    Media quoted the Swedish justice official at the center of the stalemate, Cecilia Riddselius, arguing that Stockholm interprets Quito’s request to sign a bilateral agreement on judicial cooperation as a demand to grant Assange asylum status.

    Assange, who continues to deny the rape and sexual assault accusations, remains inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London after Britain attempted to extradite him.

    The whistleblower and his defense team claim that the attempts are aimed at ultimately extraditing him to the United States, where is likely to face espionage charges for leaking top-secret military documents and diplomatic cables.

    Ecuador granted the 44-year-old Australian asylum in 2012, but law enforcement officers continue to stake out the embassy to detain Assange.

    Sweden first agreed to question the WikiLeaks founder at the Ecuadorian embassy in March, but the interrogation never took place.


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