Julian Assange granted asylum by Ecuador

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Image Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been holed up in London’s Ecuadorean Embassy since June, waiting for the South American nation to respond to his request for asylum. Today, Ecuador came through: It granted Assange asylum, guaranteeing him protection from arrest as long as he’s on Ecuadorean territory, writes the New York Times.

Of course, in order to get to Ecuador, Assange will have to leave the embassy — and Britain has no intention of letting him. Britain’s highest court ruled last year that Assange must be extradited back to Sweden, where he will be questioned about an alleged rape and an alleged molestation.

Unsurprisingly, tensions are high between Assange’s current location and his prospective destination. The British Foreign Office said in a statement: “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. The Ecuadorean government’s decision this afternoon does not change that.”

The Times writes that Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo PatiƱo has “said that the British authorities had threatened to force their way into the embassy,” to which he responded: “We are not a British colony.”

If nothing else, this story should be good news for Bill Hader, whose Saturday Night Live impression of Assange helped him snag an Emmy nomination.

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