U.K. responds to diplomatic status request from WikiLeaks founder

BY JILL CUENI-COHEN / JANUARY 11, 2018 /

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Still holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was denied a request from the Ecuadorian government to provide him diplomatic status by the United Kingdom.

“The government of Ecuador recently requested diplomatic status for Mr Assange here in the UK,” a Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson said, according to the Guardian.” The UK did not grant that request, nor are we in talks with Ecuador on this matter. Ecuador knows that the way to resolve this issue is for Julian Assange to leave the embassy to face justice.”

Assange faces certain arrest for violating bail conditions if he leaves the embassy. Recent reports suggest that Assange has become a citizen of Ecuador, according to the Washington Examiner.

WikiLeaks has expressed concern that if he leaves the embassy, the U.S. will seek Assange’s extradition amid talks that there could be a sealed indictment demanding he be arrested. In April of 2017, the Washington Post reported that the Justice Department was considering charges against Assange and WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks’ latest move was to publicly leak the entire contents of Michael Wolff’s new 327-page book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” through a link on Twitter on Sunday. The link has since been taken down, but millions of people were able to access the book for free for several hours.

Previously, WikiLeaks made public stolen emails from Democratic officials during the 2016 campaign as well as details on CIA hacking tools.

A U.S. intelligence community assessment determined last January that WikiLeaks was a cover for a Russian intelligence operation, according to the report.

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