Ecuador: Still no decision on Assange asylum request

By the CNN Wire Staff
July 11, 2012 — Updated 1052 GMT (1852 HKT)

(CNN) — Ecuador is weighing the asylum request of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and will make the decision on its own, in its own time, the country’s president said Tuesday.

Assange has been living inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since applying for political asylum on June 19. He is seeking to avoid being sent to Sweden over claims of rape and sexual molestation and said he fears if he is extradited there, Swedish authorities could hand him over to the United States.

“Ecuador will make its own, independent decision,” said President Rafael Correa, the state-run El Ciudadano website reported, citing an interview he gave to a local TV station. “The case is under review.”

Correa noted that capital punishment exists in the United States for a “political crime,” and that fact could be sufficient grounds to grant Assange asylum, El Ciudadano said.

The state-run website also said Correa stressed he is not afraid of international repercussions that might stem from whatever decision Ecuador makes.

“We have to see whether everything that’s being done in the case of Julian Assange is compatible with … the constitution and our view of human rights, political rights and due process,” the president said.

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