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WikiLeaks's Julian Assange becomes Ecuadorean citizen

WikiLeaks's Julian Assange becomes Ecuadorean citizen

After the surprising news was released two days ago, the Ecuadorean government confirmed in a press conference this morning that it WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was given citizenship in the Andean nation.

Reports swirled this week that Assange had been given citizenship by Ecuador, the nation that granted him political asylum back in 2012 amid accusations of sexual misconduct.

Swedish prosecutors have since dropped their investigation into the allegations but Assange still faces arrest by Scotland Yard for breaching bail conditions if he steps outside the embassy.

The reaction of the MFA comes one day after Quito reportedly granted an ID card to Assange.

August 2010: An arrest warrant is issued for Julian Assange after his trip to Sweden.

'Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice'.

Declared by the United Nations in 2016 to be a victim of "arbitrary detention" in violation of global law, Assange has been publicly charged with no crime outside of violating his conditions of bail in the UK.

June 2013: After a year at the Embassy, Assange fears there are fresh moves being put in place to extradite him.

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Responding to the UK's refusal to grant Mr Assange diplomatic status, Ecuador's foreign minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa said: "No solution will be achieved without worldwide co-operation and the co-operation of the United Kingdom, which has also shown interest in seeking a way out".

Also in 2014, Assange files a complaint against Sweden and Britain with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

His website WikiLeaks published leaked intelligence from the United States and although it has not sought his arrest, Mr Assange is concerned the USA is still considering prosecuting him.

However, UK police say he will be arrested if he leaves the embassy in Knightsbridge for failing to surrender to the court in 2012. But the British government has maintained he must face justice in United Kingdom courts over his breach of bail conditions.

Assange has expressed fears that he could be extradited to the USA on charges related to WikiLeaks' release of 500,000 secret military files and diplomatic cables.

Meanwhile, Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency contractor who exposed the NSA's massive spying and collection of data on people in the United States and around the globe has been turned into a man without a country, living in forced exile in Moscow.

This sparks speculation that Assange is about to end his self-imposed exile.

For some, Assange is an activist who exposed government abuses of power and championed free speech.