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Ecuador grants asylum to Assange

  • Ecuador granted political asylum to WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange on Thursday.

    The announcement came a day after it said Britain had threatened to raid the Ecuadorean embassy in London to arrest Assange.

    Britain was set to extradite him to Sweden, where he faces allegations of rape and sexual assault.

    Meanwhile, Assange fears he will be sent to the United States, which is livid over his WikiLeaks website leaking thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic and military cables.

    Speaking at a press conference in Quito, Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said his country feared for the safety of Assange, who had lodged an asylum request with President Rafael Correa, a self-proclaimed enemy of "corrupt" media and U.S. "imperialism".

    However, Assange's fate still hangs in the air as Britain has said it could strip the Ecuadorean embassy of its diplomatic status, which would allow British authorities to arrest him.

    Assange has been at Ecuador's embassy for eight weeks since he lost a legal battle to avoid extradition to Sweden.