Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/06/19/assange_staying_in_embassy_regardless/

Julian Assange: I'm quite happy to sleep on Ecuador's sofa FOREVER

Wikileaker won't leave London embassy even if Sweden no longer wants him

By Brid-Aine Parnell

Posted in Government, 19th June 2013 10:19 GMT

Julian Assange says he'll stay in the Ecuadorian embassy in London even if allegations of sexual assault against him in Sweden are dropped.

The Wikileaks supremo said that even if the Scandinavian cops decide not to clap their hands on him, he still fears he will be extradited to the US for publishing thousands of confidential American intelligence documents online.

"The strong view of my US lawyer is... I would be arrested, unless the British government gave information or guarantees that would grant me safe passage," he told Reuters, the BBC and others.

"We know there is an ongoing investigation in the US and we know I am a target of the Federal grand jury. There is a 99.97 per cent chance that I will be indicted.

"So if the Swedish government drops their request tomorrow, I still cannot leave the embassy."

Assange met the Ecuadorian foreign minister earlier this week to discuss his now yearlong stay at the Knightsbridge embassy - which began when he was granted political asylum by Ecuador and given refuge in the small London office to avoid deportation to face questioning in Sweden.

Ecuadorian minister Ricardo Patino said his country was still "firmly committed" to protecting Assange™ from extradition to any state.

Patino also met UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, but the minister's officials said "no substantive progress was made" on granting Assange safe passage out of the country.

Assange said he had always believed it could take up to two years to resolve his case, but said that Blighty was breaching international law by not letting him get to Ecuador.

"It is legally bound, under higher laws which it has acceded to, as part of its United Nations obligations, to accept the transfer of political refugees to the country which granted asylum," he claimed.

"That the UK government chooses to ignore its obligations under international law and instead favour an interpretation of EU law is, of course, political."

He also said that the whole thing could be sorted out if Sweden and Britain would just guarantee that he wouldn't be extradited to the US.

America is in the midst of building a case against Wikileaks for publishing classified files on the site; Assange claimed that there's already a sealed indictment against him that would lead to his extradition there if he left the embassy. ®