Ecuador to meet Wednesday on Assange asylum request

A British newspaper earlier said that Ecuador had already granted Assange asylum

Ecuador's external affairs ministry will on Wednesday morning present to the country's president the results of its deliberations on the request for asylum from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Assange has taken refuge at Ecuador's embassy in London since June. He is likely to be arrested by British police for breaching his bail conditions if he emerges from the embassy, an issue that Ecuador will have to resolve with the U.K. government if it decides on asylum for Assange.

A report on Assange's request will be presented in the morning to president Rafael Correa for his decision, Ricardo Patiño Aroca, Ecuador's minister for external affairs, trade and integration said in a Twitter message late Tuesday in Ecuador. The minister did not say whether a decision would be taken at the meeting.

Earlier, British newspaper The Guardian reported that Correa has agreed to grant Assange asylum, citing unnamed officials within Ecuador's government.

But Correa said that no decision had been reached in a Twitter message late Tuesday. "The rumor of asylum for Assange is false. There is still no decision in this respect. I'm waiting for report from foreign relations ministry," Correa said.

The whistle-blowing website has published leaked diplomatic cables and other information that embarrassed several governments and international businesses.

Assange's request for asylum came after he lost a fight in the U.K.'s Supreme Court to block his extradition to Sweden for questioning for allegations of sexual offences. Assange's supporters fear that from Sweden, he could be transferred to the U.S. to face charges under the country's Espionage Act.

Assange, an Australian citizen, is said to have written in June to the Ecuador government stating that following statements from his country, it was impossible for him to return to his home country and puts him "in a state of helplessness by being requested to be interrogated by the Kingdom of Sweden, where its top officials have openly attacked me, and investigated me for political crimes in the United States of America, a country where the death penalty for such offenses is still in force."

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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