After the surprising news was released two days ago, the Ecuadorean government confirmed in a press conference this morning that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been given citizenship in the Andean nation.
In a press conference held today Ecuador’s foreign minister, Maria Fernanda Espinosa reaffirmed that Julian Assange was granted Ecuadorean citizenship Dec. 21, 2017. Assange, who has been sheltered in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since June 19, 2012 when he was granted political asylum, began the application in September.
She stressed several times that Ecuador is following all national and international laws and is “dedicated to protecting the human rights” of Assange in this “delicate case.”
Despite the confirmed citizenship status, Espinosa said that the government continues to work with the U.K. to “explore alternatives and options to resolve the case.”
The foreign ministers said that her government tried to obtain diplomatic status for the Wikileaks founder within the United Kingdom on Dec. 20, but that the British government immediately denied the asylum seeker such status.
Earlier this week Ecuador's foreign ministry released a statement that read: "Julian Assange received international protection from the Ecuadorean government in August 2012.
"The current government inherited this issue and it's looking for solution alternatives, with full respect of national and international law, as well as human rights... in coordination with the United Kingdom, with which we have the best friendship and cooperation relations."
Assange is committed to not "intervening in issues non-related with his asylum condition," as requested by Ecuadorean government, the statement continued.
The Foreign Office in the UK has confirmed that Assange continues to face arrest for breaching bail conditions if he leaves the embassy premises. He fears that if arrested by UK authorities they he will be extradited to the United States whose government is looking to prosecute Assange for publishing thousands of U.S. classified military and diplomatic documents via his Wikileaks page.
Rumors about Assange's condition were sparked Jan. 1 when he tweeted a 60-character code and a link to the song "Paper Planes" by British singer MIA. The Ecuadorean government has since insisted that "nothing has happened."
In a picture posted Wednesday on his personal Twitter account, Assange appears wearing a jersey from Ecuador's national football team.
The Australian activist now appears in Ecuador's Civil Registry database and holds an identity document: 'Julian Paul Assange' is registered in the Internal Revenue Service with document number 1729926483.