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Ecuador’s Asylum Offering to Assange Sparks Diplomatic Battle with U.K., U.S. ,and Sweden

Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patino has confirmed the country will extend political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is currently detained, sleeping on an air mattress in Ecuador’s small embassy in London.

Patino is seeking permission for Assange to leave London for Ecuador to prevent him from being extradited to Sweden, where supporters fear he may be sent to America to face additional charges. The U.K. has so far refused to allow Assange to leave, and is reportedly considering revoking Ecuador’s diplomatic immunity to obtain the notorious leaker of government secrets.

In a statements released Thursday, Ecuador reminded the public that “these extraordinary actions are being taken to detain a man who has not been charged with any crime in any country,” while Assange himself thanked “the courageous, independent Latin American nation” while urging support for WikiLeaks informant Bradley Manning, who Assange pointed out has been detained over 800 days without trial.