Julian Assange gets Ecuador citizenship

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There have been reports that his health, not surprisingly, has suffered, leading to heart problems and chronic pneumonia.

Prior to this latest announcement, the South American country's foreign minister, María Fernanda Espinosa, had said that Assange would not be leaving the embassy without "security guarantees" because of threats from "third-party states".

It was reported Wednesday by an Ecuadoran daily that Quito had granted Assange a passport and national ID card, prompting speculation that he could be offered citizenship and diplomatic status, allowing him to leave the country.

Earlier this week Ecuador's foreign ministry released a statement that read: "Julian Assange received global protection from the Ecuadorean government in August 2012. Ecuador does not want to suggest it made a mistake in granting Assange asylum", Ball wrote. Assange is not the political icon he used to be.

A United Nations panel has said that Assange had been "arbitrarily detained" and should be able to claim compensation from Britain and Sweden.

Assange will face arrest for breaking his bail conditions if he leaves Ecuador's London Embassy, where he was granted asylum in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over sexual assault allegations, which he has repeatedly denied.

Assange's relationship with Ecuador has strained in recent years, most notably since the appointment of president Lenin Moreno in 2017 who warned him he "cannot meddle in national and worldwide politics", especially in regards to "politics of countries that are our friends".

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British authorities have also refused to confirm that Mr. Assange will not be extradited to the U.S.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is seen on the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, Britain, May 19, 2017.

Swedish prosecutors earlier this year unexpectedly dropped their investigation into the allegations, which included a claim of rape.

Assange made its first big headlines in April 2010 with the release of footage showing a U.S. helicopter shooting civilians and two Reuters staff in Iraq. He has remained in the embassy premises in London since then.

What could happen to Julian Assange now?

"What naturalisation does is provide the asylum seeker another layer of protection", she told reporters in Quito.

For several years, Metropolitan police officers maintained a constant watch of the embassy, which is situated behind Harrods in central London, at a cost of at least £11.1 million (US$15 million), according to figures released by Scotland Yard in June 2015.