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Newsline: Ecuador says Assange can leave embassy if no Swedish charges

Ecuador said Friday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can leave his hideout in its London embassy and go into exile in the South American country if Swedish prosecutors do not charge him after questioning him. “If they don’t charge him, he can leave. We hope we won’t have any problem with the United Kingdom. He would likely come to Ecuador, because he has already been granted asylum in our country,” said Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino in an interview on public radio. Assange, who faces a rape allegation in Sweden, has been in hiding at the Ecuadoran embassy in London since 2012. Ecuador granted Assange asylum in 2012, after he sought refuge at its embassy while facing extradition to Sweden. British authorities have vowed to arrest him if he sets foot outside the embassy. Sweden said Wednesday it had formally requested permission to interrogate Assange at the embassy, after months of diplomatic wrangling finally yielded a Swedish-Ecuadoran deal on legal cooperation last month. Patino has said Ecuador will cooperate with Swedish prosecutors, but that the questioning will be conducted by Ecuadoran officials under Ecuadoran law.



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