The Ecuadorian government has granted Wikileaks founder Julian Assange political asylum in the country, although it is unclear if he will be able to leave the UK with the Foreign Office considering storming the embassy to remove Assange forcefully.
The controversial figure first requested diplomatic immunity in June, claiming he was being persecuted by authorities due to the publication of material on the Wikileaks website in 2011.
The decision comes as tensions between the Ecuadorian government and the UK increased after veiled threats from the UK that it would use its legal system to remove Assange from the embassy by force.
However, announcing the decision from the country's capital Quito this afternoon, the Ecuadorian foreign minister Ricardo Patino said that on examining the case it felt there were grounds to believe Assange would not get a fair trial and was being persecuted.
"We can state there is a risk that he can be persecuted politically [so] the Ecuadorian government is defending its right to protect Assange and we have decided to grant political asylum to him," he said.
He also warned the UK not to carry out any plans to storm the embassy and take Assange, claiming it was tantamount to blackmail of the sovereignty of the country, and he urged the nation to allow the extradition to take place.
"We also trust that the excellent relationship that we have between two countries will continue to be so, and remain intact, based on the same principles and values we have shared about democracy and peace," Patino said.
In a statement, the Foreign Office said it was "disappointed" by the decision, adding that it still intended to carry out the extradition of Assange, suggesting it may well storm the embassy.
"Under our law, with Mr Assange having exhausted all options of appeal, the British authorities are under a binding obligation to extradite him to Sweden. We shall carry out that obligation," said a spokesperson.
"The Ecuadorian government's decision this afternoon does not change that. We remain committed to a negotiated solution that allows us to carry out our obligations under the Extradition Act."
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