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Ecuador to make decision on Assange after Olympics – foreign minister

Published time: July 25, 2012 20:34
Edited time: July 26, 2012 00:34
AFP Photo / Carl Court

AFP Photo / Carl Court

Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patino says the decision on whether to grant Julian Assange political asylum will be made after the Olympic Games and will not affect the Ecuador’s relations with Britain.

­“We will make a decision that doesn't affect our relationship with Great Britain,” Patino noted. “It might be a decision that's different from the position of the government of Great Britain, but we will be prudent so as not to affect the situation over there right now.

Patino said his country would invite British and Swedish officials to come over to Ecuador to discuss the issue. The Wikileaks founder is currently staying at Ecuador’s embassy in London and celebrated his 41st birthday on July 3.   

Julian Assange took refuge in the embassy on June 19. He had previously spent 18 months under house arrest trying to appeal a court ruling to extradite him to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on suspicion of sexual misconduct.

Assange believes that he may subsequently be re-extradited to the United States to face charges of espionage, as Wikileaks published thousands of classified documents.  

On Tuesday, Wikileaks announced it had hired Spanish former judge Balthazar Garzon to lead a legal team defending the whistleblower website and Assange.