WikiLeaks Founder Assange Seeking Political Asylum in Ecuador

Assange's request comes after the British Supreme Court rejected his bid to block extradition to Sweden.


Julian Assange, famed WikiLeaks chief, has taken refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London and is seeking political asylum, Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patino said Tuesday.

The most recent request comes less than a week after Britain's Supreme Court rejected Assange's latest bid to block his extradition to Sweden.

In a news conference, Patino said Assange had written to Equador's president, Rafael Correa, saying he was being persecuted and is seeking asylum, according to the Associated Press.

[Read: Julian Assange Hosts Hezbollah Leader in TV Series Debut.]

"The authorities in his country will not defend [Assange's] minimum guarantees in front of any government or ignore the obligation to protect a politically persecuted citizen," Patino said.

Assange is wanted for questioning in the case of two women who accused him of sexual misconduct during a visit to Sweden in 2010.

He spent 10 days in prison on the charges before he was released on bail.

Since word of the allegations more than two years ago, the Australian computer programmer has been attempting to stay in Britain. He has maintained his innocence with regards to the incident.

In 2010, Assange and WikiLeaks, the infamous website which publishes information from whistleblowers, became household names when the site released hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. documents, along with videos that captured U.S. forces gunning down Iraqi citizens and journalists mistaken for insurgents.

[Read: UK's Top Court Rejects Assange Bid to Reopen Case.]

He claims the U.S. has secretly indicted him for divulging American secrets and will act on the indictment if Sweden succeeds in extraditing him from Britain, according to the Associated Press.

Patino said that Assange put blame on Swedish officials, asccusing them of "openly attacking me" and investigating him for political crimes.

Valerie Bonk is an assistant editor at U.S. News & World Report. You can contact her at or follow her on Twitter or Facebook.