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Julian Assange asylum request considered in Ecuador

Ecuador President Rafael Correa is considering Julian Assange's petition for asylum, saying the WikiLeaks founder's charges could be political persecution.

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Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, centre, arrives at the High Court in central London, on July 12, 2011. (LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

Ecuador President Rafael Correa is considering Julian Assange's petition for asylum, saying the WikiLeaks founder's charges could be political persecution.

"We cannot accept a political persecution for the ideas Mr. Assange expressed," Correa told CNN Thursday. "If he has committed any type of crime through WikiLeaks, then let those charges be brought forth. It is very strange that the current charges are of a completely different nature."

More from GlobalPost: Julian Assange of WikiLeaks loses appeal to avoid extradition to Sweden

Assange, 40, a former computer hacker, enraged the US government in 2010 when his WikiLeaks website published secret diplomatic cables from Washington, according to Reuters. The Australian is now wanted for questioning in Sweden over sex crime allegations, which he denies, and is seeking to avoid extradition to the European country, where he has been arrested in absentia.

After his legal options seemed to run out, Assange took refuge in Ecuador's embassy in London on Tuesday in an attempt to dodge the extradition from England to Sweden, reported the Associated Press. The embassy said Saturday that Ecuador's ambassador to England Anna Alban is traveling back to her country's capital to speak with Correa about Assange's request.

"While in Ecuador she will be holding a series of meetings with officials at the ministry of foreign affairs before meeting President Correa to personally brief him on Mr. Assange's application for political asylum," said a statement from the embassy, according to the AP. "She will also fully brief the president on her recent meeting with officials of the UK government."

More from GlobalPost: WikiLeaks' Assange seeks asylum in Ecuador (UPDATE)

The South American country said Assange is under its protection while it considers his asylum application, reported The Telegraph. If he leaves the embassy, Assange faces arrest for breaching the terms of his bail, but the Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed that he is "beyond the reach of the police" while he is in the building.

According to The Guardian, Assange said the allegations against him are politically motivated and that the sex in question was consensual.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/120624/julian-assange-asylum-request-considered-ecuador