A week after entering the Ecuadorian embassy in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has said he is prepared to go to Sweden for questioning in a sexual assault case – but only if he is guaranteed that he won’t be extradited to the United States.
The Australian-born whistleblower made a bid for freedom last week, when he arrived at the Ecuadorian embassy and asked for political asylum. This request is now being considered by that country’s president, and the ambassador has been recalled for consultation as well.
Assange and his supporters believe that once he arrives in Sweden, he will be extradited to the United States. It is widely believed that Washington wants to pursue him for revealing sensitive information about US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thousands of leaked diplomatic cables have put the US in an uncomfortable position with its allies and partners worldwide.
Assange said that “if the US were to guarantee that it would drop the grand jury investigation and any further investigation of WikiLeaks’ publishing activity, that would be an important guarantee… diplomatic commitments do have some weight.”
Ecuador says Assange will remain under its protection until a decision is made about his asylum application. However, Assange faces arrest for breaching the terms of his bail if he leaves the Ecuadorian Embassy.