Ecuador weighs Assange transfer to Sweden

22 September 2012
Ecuador's FM Ricardo Patino (R) has stressed that the best option would be for Britain to grant Assange a 'safe passage'
This file photo shows Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino (R) meeting with Christine Assange, mother of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, at the foreign ministry in Quito, in July. Patino has proposed that Assange be transferred from London to Sweden, where he would remain under Quito's protection

Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino has proposed that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange be transferred from London to Sweden, where he would remain under Quito's protection.

Patino on Friday told journalists Ecuador was weighing such a transfer as a possible alternative for Assange to "remain under our protection while also satisfying the demands of the Swedish justice system."

Assange took shelter in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in June after exhausting all appeals against extradition from Britain to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over sexual assault allegations. Ecuador has granted him diplomatic asylum.

The 41-year-old Australian fears Sweden will hand him over to the United States, where he could face prosecution over the release of a vast cache of leaked Iraq and Afghanistan war reports and diplomatic cables.

Patino hinted to "new" developments in the Swedish case, saying "several elements of proof have been dismissed," though he declined to provide further details.

He stressed that the best option, in Ecuador's view, would be for Britain to grant Assange safe passage.

On the margins of next week's United Nations General Assembly in New York, Patino plans to discuss Assange's case with his British counterpart William Hague.