The Latest: UK’s Hunt: Assange can leave embassy whenever
LONDON (AP) — The Latest on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (all times local):
Britain’s foreign secretary says Julian Assange is a “free man” and can leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London whenever he chooses.
On Thursday, tweets from WikiLeaks quoted what it said were high-level sources saying that Julian Assange could be kicked out of the building within “hours to days.”
Ecuador’s foreign ministry issued a statement saying it wouldn’t comment on what it called “rumors, theories or conjectures.”
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Assange “can leave that embassy whenever he wants to, so we want the situation resolved as quickly as possible.”
Assange hasn’t left the embassy since August 2012.
Media are assembled outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London after tweets from WikiLeaks quoted sources saying that Julian Assange could be kicked out of the building within “hours to days.”
The red-brick embassy building with white window frames and balconies was quiet Friday, but armed British police officers were stationed outside. No embassy official or any British authorities have commented.
Assange hasn’t left the embassy since August 2012, fearing if he steps off Ecuador’s diplomatic soil he will be arrested and extradited to the U.S. for publishing thousands of classified military and diplomatic cables through WikiLeaks.
Ecuador’s foreign ministry issued a statement late Thursday saying it wouldn’t comment on what it called “rumors, theories or conjectures.”
Later, a senior official told The Associated Press that no decision had been taken to expel Assange from the embassy.
A senior Ecuadorian official says no decision has been made to expel Julian Assange from the country’s London embassy despite tweets from Wikileaks that sources had told it he could be kicked out within “hours to days.”
A small group of protesters and supporters of Wikileaks’ founder gathered Thursday outside the embassy in London where Assange has been holed up since August 2012.
Earlier, Wikileaks tweeted: “BREAKING: A high level source within the Ecuadorian state has told @WikiLeaks that Julian Assange will be expelled within “hours to days.” Another tweet said it had received a second confirmation.
A top Ecuadorian official denied WikiLeaks’ claim and said no decision had been taken to expel Assange. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter.