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UK would refuse Assange safe passage: London

August 16, 2012

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks at a news conference in London in this February 27, 2012. — File Photo by Reuters

LONDON: Britain has told Ecuador that it would refuse WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange safe passage out of the country even if Quito grants him asylum, official notes showed Thursday.

“We must be absolutely clear this means that, should we receive a request for safe passage for Mr Assange, after granting asylum, this would be refused,” Britain's charge d'affaires told Ecuador's government, a note of the meeting showed.

Ecuador was due Thursday to announce its decision on Assange's request for asylum.

The Australian national took refuge in the embassy on June 19 having exhausted his legal options as he fights extradition to Sweden to face questioning over alleged sexual offences.

Assange, a former computer hacker, angered the United States after his website published thousands of secret files that hugely embarrassed Washington and several governments, in 2010.

The 41-year-old says he fears eventual deportation from Sweden to the United States where he believes he would be tried for his website's release of thousands of diplomatic cables and logs relating to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Britain says it remains determined to extradite Assange to Sweden.