The Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) says they have granted naturalization to Julian Assange. The reaction of the MFA comes one day after Quito reportedly granted an ID card to Assange.
The passport could obtain his first step to obtaining diplomatic immunity, as Ecuador wants to resolve Assange’s indefinite embassy stay. The WikiLeaks founder has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy for five years.
The UK Foreign Office reportedly rejected a request from Quito to grant the whistle-blower diplomatic status. The passport was reportedly granted to him on December 12.
Ecuador’s foreign minister Guillaume Long, says the country is seeking a “dignified and just” solution with the UK government over Assange’s case. He added that Assange will not leave Ecuador’s embassy while there are no security guarantees.
Ecuador usually issues such ID cards for people claiming residency status, which are called cedulas. The Vienna convention on diplomatic relations states that someone who holds a diplomatic passport is immune from prosecution. It is still no guarantee, however.
Assange has been living inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, when he was accused of sexual assault in Sweden. Although Swedish prosecutors have since dropped the charges, British police remain outside the embassy ready to arrest the WikiLeaks co-founder for breaking his 2012 bail conditions. Assange refuses to surrender to the British authorities, fearing they would extradite him to the United States where he expects to be prosecuted for his subversive activities.