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Ecuador 'expresses concern' to Foreign Office over Julian Assange case

Ecuador's ambassador in London has met a Foreign Office minister and expressed concern over the Government's position on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Carlos Abad spent over half an hour with Hugo Swire to discuss the case of the WikiLeaks founder, who has been staying at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London for over three years.

He is wanted for questioning in Sweden over a sex allegation, which he denies, but believes, if he goes, he will be extradited to the United States over the activities of WikiLeaks.

Today's meeting was the first of its kind since a United Nations working group said it believed Mr Assange was being "arbitrarily detained".

Ecuador's ambassador said: "At the meeting with minister Hugo Swire, I made it clear that Ecuador wishes to resolve the situation of Julian Assange, within a framework of respect for the United Nation's International System of Human Rights.

"I expressed our concern, shared by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, that to act in contravention of the UN resolution on the Julian Assange case sets a negative precedent within the international community.

"I was also able to clarify that Ecuador has not stood in the way of the judicial proceedings requested by the Swedish prosecutor who, for her part, has not yet complied with the standard procedures for international judicial cooperation outlined in the recently signed bilateral agreement between Sweden and Ecuador."

Ecuador denounced the "human rights violations" against Julian Assange at a session of the UN's Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Ecuador's ambassador to the United Nations, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, said: "Since its creation, this Council has been the most representative forum for debate and international agreements on human rights around the world.

"However, when the transgressions of these rights are carried out by certain politically and economically influential countries, cases are generally not discussed or they are downplayed, which creates an asymmetry that needs to be rectified.

"Ecuador wishes to express its concern in relation to the arbitrary detention that the Australian citizen Julian Assange has been subjected to for over five years with the participation of the United Kingdom and the kingdom of Sweden.

"The countries that are involved in this violation are also in breach of the right to health. Mr Assange's physical and psychological integrity is impacted as he has not received adequate medical treatment since the commencement of his confinement at the embassy of Ecuador in London where he has asylum."

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