Ecuador Grants Citizenship To WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange After 6 Years Living In Embassy

Julian Assange
Ecuador's Foreign Minister announced WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was granted Ecuadorian citizenship. Assange fears being extradited to the US, where he could face life in prison or even the death penalty. Photo: Getty Images

Ecuador's Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa announced in a press conference that the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, has been granted that nation’s citizenship. Since August 2012, the 46-year-old Australian computer programmer was living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, expressing concern that if he leaves the embassy he could end up being extradited to the US, where he fears facing the death penalty, according to CNN.

Espinosa informed that in December, the Ecuadorian government requested a diplomatic "protected" status for Assange, but the United Kingdom rebuked the request. "The Government of Ecuador recently requested diplomatic status for Mr. Assange here in the UK. The UK did not grant that request, nor are we in talks with Ecuador on this matter. Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice," the UK Foreign Office said in a statement.

In order to protect the WikiLeaks founder, Ecuador “will continue to protect Julian Assange while his physical and psychological integrity are at risk," Espinosa said. "We are a country that defends human rights and additionally, a country that respects international law."

"We believe Julian Assange's situation, from a human perspective, is not sustainable. A person cannot live in these conditions forever. And we are very respectively looking with the United Kingdom to find mechanisms that lead to a solution," Espinosa added.

WikiLeaks was founded in 2006, but after the site published nearly 750,000 classified, or unclassified but sensitive, military and diplomatic documents provided by Chelsea Manning - a former United States Army soldier, Assange became a target of investigation by the federal government of the United States.

These leaks included the Collateral Murder video, the Afghanistan war logs, the Iraq war logs, and CableGate. Manning was convicted by court-martial in July 2013, of violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses, she was released on May 17, 2017, after President Barack Obama pardoned Manning's remaining sentence. 

According to the WikiLeaks website, its goal is "to bring important news and information to the public... One of our most important activities is to publish original source material alongside our news stories so readers and historians alike can see evidence of the truth."

The United States still wants to prosecute Julian Assange under the Espionage Act of 1917.

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Shirley Gomez has been exposed to many aspects of the art world. Besides being a Fashion Journalist, she studied Fashion Styling and Fashion Styling for Men at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Interior Design at UNIBE and Fashion Design at ITSMJ Fashion School in the Dominican Republic. She worked as a Fashion Journalist, Fashion Stylist and Social Media Manager at one of the most recognized magazines in the Dominican Republic, Oh! Magazine, as an occasional Entertainment Journalist, of the prestigious newspaper “Listín Diario”, as well as a fashion collaborator of a radio show aired in 100.9 FM SuperQ. When Shirley is not writing you can find her listening Demi Lovato or Beyonce's songs, decorating her apartment or watching Family Feud.