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Ecuadorian government censures Sweden over case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks from the balcony of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, February 5, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)
The Ecuadorian government has criticized Sweden over the “serious lack of process” in dealing with the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who he has been confined for almost five years to Ecuador’s Embassy in London.
The government in Quito sent a letter to Stockholm, saying that there had been a “serious failure” on the part of a Swedish prosecutor to complete an investigation into sexual assault allegations against the Australian journalist and publisher.
Ecuador has repeatedly demanded that guarantees be provided by Sweden that Assange would not be extradited to a third country if he is moved to Sweden to undergo judicial proceedings.
The whistle-blower, who fears extradition to the US over his leak of classified US data on WikiLeaks, sought refuge at the Ecuadorian mission in June 2012 after Swedish prosecutors issued a European arrest warrant against him over allegations of rape and sexual assault filed by two women in Sweden in 2010.
Assange has denied the accusations, saying the claims were politically-motivated and coercive measures meant to silence him.
Sweden began questioning Assange late last year, when the country’s chief prosecutor traveled to London, but no details of the meeting were released. Ecuador accused the chief prosecutor there of a “lack of initiative.”
In March, the prosecutors said that they had put on hold a preliminary investigation into the case because they were waiting for the translation of some parts of a report into the allegations.
Early this month, an attorney for Assange asked the prosecutors to drop the arrest warrant “on the basis that there is a real risk that the US wants him extradited.” Attorney Per Samuelson said if Sweden withdraws the detention order, then Assange can use political asylum in Ecuador.
The country granted him political asylum in 2012, but a constant police presence and the arrest order has prevented him from exiting the embassy in London ever since.

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