The Ecuadorean Foreign Office says it expects President Rafael Correa and the national government to make a decision today or in the near future about WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange’s request for political asylum.
Correa, who supports the right to life, told BBC World that the decision is dependent on the risk of death for Assange, who faces extradition and investigation for crimes in Sweden and the U.S.. He also added that Ecuador has a long-standing reputation for supporting human rights.
The decision will be made from Quito, or from Rio de Janeiro, where Correa is currently attending the Rio+20 Conference.
In a bold move, Assange wrote to Correa last month asking for political asylum. Assange arrived to the Ecuadorean Embassy in London’s Knightsbridge neighbourhood on Tuesday, where he has spent the past two nights. Until a decision is made, Assange will remain under the protection of the Ecuadorean government.
The Foreign Office said that because the embassy is diplomatic territory, Assange is safe from police arrest. Should he leave—even if granted asylum—he faces immediate arrest for breaking bail conditions, say British police and government officials.
The Australian national has been entangled in an 18-month legal battle with Sweden, involving allegations of sexual abuse and rape by two women in 2010. Last week, the British Supreme Court rejected Assange’s final appeal, and permitting the European Court of Human Rights does not intervene, Assange will be extradited to Sweden at midnight on 7th July.
According to the Ecuadorean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Assange, 41, sought asylum because he was denied protection from Australia, has been openly attacked by Swedish officials, and is being investigated in the U.S. for crimes that carry the death penalty.
The U.S. is currently investigating Assange for the 2010 WikiLeaks scandal, during which thousands of secret military and governmental documents were released, many pertaining to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
If Assange is not granted asylum, his fate is up to the London Metropolitan Police and Home Office.