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Ecuador embassy in London to allow Swedish prosecutors to question Julian Assange

Ecuador says it welcomes the Swedish authorities, although it wants assurances the WikiLeaks founder won't be extradited to the US.

Assange ecuador embassy Enlarge
With literally all eyes on him, Assange will have to come up with a brilliant embassy escape plan if granted asylum by Ecuador. (Leon Neal /AFP/Getty Images)

Ecuador will allow the Swedish authorities to interview WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at its London embassy where he has been living since seeking asylum there last month.

According to The Guardian, Assange has been living in a 15-square-foot room at the embassy since June 19 to avoid extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault charges.

Ecuadorian diplomats had sought British assurances that Assange, 40, would not be extradited to the US to face trial on possible espionage-related charges after legal proceedings with Sweden were completed, the newspaper said.

The anti-secrecy campaigner wants to avoid being sent to Sweden to face sex crime claims, which he denies.

However, his US extradition fears stem from the 2010 publication of secret US cables on his whistleblower website.

"The evil that Ecuador wishes to prevent is the extradition [of Assange] to the US," a senior legal adviser at the embassy told The Guardian.

"Now if there are ways and means of that being tied down, I think that would be a just solution."

According to the Press Association, Ecuador planned to ask Washington if a Grand Jury was being set up to investigate WikiLeaks' publication of the information.

However, a source at the Ecuadorian embassy told the PA: "Julian Assange has repeatedly offered himself to the Swedish authorities to be interviewed. We have made it clear that Ecuador would be willing to facilitate an interview. The prosecutor is welcome to come here."

The source said that Ecuador did not "seek out" the problem of Assange's asylum claim and lamented how "incredibly complex" the case had become diplomatically:

"It is our duty to act under international law and the standards of South American principles. We care very much about human rights, but at the same time we have bilateral relations to consider."

A WikiLeaks spokesman told the BBC that Assange had been willing to be interviewed in London for the past 18 months.

Meantime, he faces arrest for breaching bail conditions if he leaves the embassy in London.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/120726/julian-assange-wikileaks-ecuador-sweden-london-embassy-espionage-grand-jury